Vijayan, not his daughter, the 'real culprit' in graft case: Cong MLA
Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 13 (IANS) Congress legislator Mathew Kuzhalnadan on Tuesday listed out the sequence of events in the role played by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in favouring Kochi-based mining firm CMRL, claiming not his daughter, but the CM is the "real culprit" in the alleged corruption case.
"It is true by now that everyone knows how Veena Vijayan -- daughter of Vijayan and the sole director of her IT firm Exalogic has received illegal gratification from CMRL. In this case the real culprit is Vijayan and not Veena," said Kuzhalnadan.
Kuzhalnadan said it was way back in 2004 that CMRL got mining lease in four areas in Alappuzha.
"From 2004 till 2016, successive state governments were doing their best to ensure mining is done only in the public sector after CMRL got successful verdicts in its favour from Kerala High Court. Even though the Supreme Court had mentioned that the state government can take back the leased land through a notification, the Vijayan government which assumed office in May 2016 did not do it, instead did his best to favour CMRL," said Kuzhalnadan.
"From December 2016, CMRL started paying Veena a monthly sum of Rs 5 lakh and from March 2017, her IT firm Exalogic was paid Rs 3 lakh every month. In 2018, through the Kerala industrial policy, there was yet another twist as the English version and the Malayalam version differed when it came to mining and this was done to favour CMRL," said Kuzhalnadan.
He said things went for a toss when in early 2019, the Centre ordered termination of all mining leases granted to private companies engaged in mining materials used by the atomic energy department.
"Since then, Vijayan has been doing everything to see how CMRL license can be retained. Even though Vijayan does not handle this department, he invoked his powers and called for the file. Why did he call this file alone while there are numerous other mining leases that are given? The law department had recommended for terminating the mining license given to CMRL and the file is now with Vijayan. He could have easily terminated the license in 2019 itself, but has not done it," the Congress leader said.
Kuzhalnadan said it was this issue which he had given in writing in the Monday session of the Assembly to the Speaker to raise in the floor of the Assembly.
"But the Speaker refused to allow me to raise, which is totally wrong and against the practices adopted in the floor of the Assembly. He knew if I had raised, Vijayan will have to deny this or say something. The speaker saved Vijayan. But this is only Part 1... I will be returning back with Part 2 and Part 3 of this mammoth corruption that has been done by Vijayan and sadly the state government and the CPI-M is all rallying behind Vijayan, and shielding him," the Congress MLA said.
Kuzhalnadan's claims came at a time when both the Kerala and Karnataka High Courts are hearing petitions on the payment received by Exalogic from CMRL.
Exalogic approached the Karnataka High Court seeking a stay of the ongoing probe by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) while the state-owned KSIDC which owns 13 per cent stake in CMRL went to the Kerala High Court with the same demand.