KOCHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has taken over the probe into the Rs 7.61 crore fund misappropriation at the Kerala Advocate Welfare Fund Trustee Committee (KAWFTC). The CBI re-registered the FIR at its Ernakulam Court following the directive of the Kerala High Court.
The case, which was earlier probed by Kerala's Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB), pertains to anomalies discovered when the audit of accounts of KAWFTC for the year from 2007 to 2010 was conducted. The audit pointed out 16 anomalies and based on a complaint, the VACB registered a case in May 2018.
The VACB probe had revealed that a sum of Rs 7.61 crore was diverted. As per the re-registered FIR, there are nine accused persons - MK Chandran, an accountant with KAWFTC, and his eight friends/acquaintances viz., K Babu Scaria, Sreekala Chandran, Anadaraj, Martin A, Dhanapalan, Rajagopal P, Jeyaprabha R and Fathima Sherin. The funds were transferred into their bank accounts.
The case is registered under various sections of IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
As per the FIR, Chandran while performing his duty as an accountant at KAWFTC entered into a criminal conspiracy with Babu Scaria, committed misconduct and obtained pecuniary benefits. Chandran channelled the amount collected for KAWFTC to the account of Babu and other accused persons.
Chandran and Babu were arrested by VACB in January 2019 and later granted bail. Not satisfied by the VACB probe, Advocate CG Arun who is the president of Thalassery District Court Bar Association and a member of KAWFTC approached the Kerala High Court demanding a CBI probe. It was on December 2021 that the Kerala High Court directed the CBI to take over the probe.