Petition seeks probe into CMRL bribing politicians

The petition said Veena, Pinarayi, Chennithala, Kunhalikutty, Ebrahimkunju, A Govindan and Exalogic Solutions received bribes for obtaining undue advantage in the business carried out by CMRL.
Image used for representational purpose only. (Express Illustrations)
Image used for representational purpose only. (Express Illustrations)

KOCHI: An activist from Kalamassery moved the Vigilance Court in Muvattupuzha seeking an investigation into the alleged bribe paid by Cochin Minerals and Rutile Ltd (CMRL) to Veena Vijayan, the daughter of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Girish Babu, who sought the probe citing revelations by the Income Tax Interim Board of Settlement (ITIBS), New Delhi, named the CM, and UDF leaders Ramesh Chennithala, P K Kunhalikutty, and V K Ebrahimkunju in the petition claiming they, too, received bribes from CMRL. Veena’s company Exalogic Solutions, CMRL, its MD S N Sasidharan Kartha, chief financial officer K S Suresh Kumar, chief general manager P Suresh Kumar and cashier K M Vasudevan have also been named in the plea.

The court will consider the petition on August 26. Girish said I-T officials had unearthed proof of the illicit relationship between CMRL and several politicians. “Several shocking records were seized in an I-T search, portraying the illegal connection between the company and the politicians. The ITIBS findings show offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act,” the petition said.

The petition said Veena, Pinarayi, Chennithala, Kunhalikutty, Ebrahimkunju, A Govindan and Exalogic Solutions received bribes for obtaining undue advantage in the business carried out by CMRL. The board’s findings also reveal CMRL conducted several bogus transactions to massively inflate their expenses to accommodate the expenses for the bribes it paid, as was admitted by the company officials before I-T officials, said the petition.

“The depositions of Kartha, dated March 22, 2019, state that he admits to the relevant answers given by CFO K S Suresh Kumar. He admitted that `40.46 crore consisted of inflated payments made to vendors, which they received in cash and utilised it to pay politicians and several others. Depositions of K M Vasudevan, the cashier, revealed such transactions were, in fact, payments to individuals in the guise of other expenses,” the petition said.

It claimed K S Suresh Kumar was deposed and that the company was receiving several threats. “To overcome the threats and to obtain cooperation, illegal payments were being made to various individuals. Moreover, their silence and inaction in return for the illegal consideration they received gave rise to severe environmental problems in the state, especially pollution in the Periyar River due to the company’s activities,” the petition said.

In the I-T raids at the CFO’s residence, the sleuths received details of payments that he had noted down in a bunch of papers and kept in a suitcase, said the petition, adding that the payments were made on Kartha’s directives.   

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