KOCHI: The CBI’s revelation that the MoU signed in the LIFE Mission project was hijacked by M Sivasankar, former principal secretary to the chief minister, with the aid of notorious smugglers has left the Kerala government embarrassed. Sources with the CBI said the agency will interrogate Sivasankar based on the deposition of Unitac MD Santhosh Eappen.
According to the agency, there was clear conspiracy involving government officials behind the project implementation. Santhosh Eappen and the representative of Unitac went to the office of Sivasankar to obtain more details of the project as per the direction of Swapna Suresh. Sivasankar in turn called Life Mission CEO U V Jose and Geethu, an officer in charge of the Mission. He had instructed the officers to extend all help to Unitac to implement the project. The CBI said Jose came to know about the deal only when Sivasankar called him to the Secretariat. This was a fraud under the guise of foreign contribution.
In fact, the original project drawn up by the Habitat had proposed to construct 203 apartments. However, Santhosh Eappen wanted it to be reduced to 100 so that he could pay the huge kickbacks demanded by Swapna Suresh. However, the project was later revised raising the number of apartments to 140 after discussion with the LIFE Mission officials. Santhosh Eappen told Swapna that as the number of apartments to be built was increased, he will not be able to pay huge amounts as commission. Then they decided to reduce the commission from 30% to 26%. Swapna informed them that 20 per cent will go to the Consulate General and six per cent for her.
‘No life mission official named in FIR’
The CBI contended that it did not name any officer of the LIFE Mission in its FIR. The investigation is progressing. The officials might become accused or principal witnesses in the case. At this juncture, it is too early to say whether Jose would be arraigned as accused or made a principal witness. According to the CBI, if they wanted to harass and pick up anybody, it would have arrested Jose. “Only the guilty will be booked,” the CBI submitted.