On Tuesday, the Pinarayi Vijayan government facing heat from numerous agencies had gotten relief when the Kerala High Court granted an interim stay for two months in the ongoing CBI inquiry into the Life Mission housing project, a pet project of the chief minister.
Last month the Kerala high court was approached by the Life Mission seeking quashing of FIR registered by the CBI, however, it was then disallowed. The kerala high court had only stayed the CBI investigation into the alleged Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act violation in the Vadakkanchery Life Mission housing project.
The hearing in the case will be done in detail and will continue as the court seeks to know the role of the two private agencies, Sane Ventures and Unitac Builders. Which secured the right to build the flats at Wadakkancherry in Thrissur.
Anil Akkara, the Congress legislator on whose petition the CBI investigation was initiated told that This was expected as there is a question of the law raised by the state government. Akkare told: What happened in the court is the plea of the Mission seeking quashing of the FIR, has not happened. The issue of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act if it can be put on the Mission is being looked into and that’s a legal issue, which will now be looked into, and the probe into other aspects will go forward.”
A top CPI-M leader N.N.Krishnadas said that ours is a federal system and there are clear cut rules on how national agencies can intervene. This is not just an issue of Life Mission, it’s a question on how national agencies can probe cases. So, we will wait and see.”
Last month legal advice was sought by the state government and was told that the FIR registered can be quashed as it was illegal and the government had no role in it.
Life Mission CEO, Y.V. Jose and a senior IAS official with all the documents appeared before the CBI.
The disagreement of the Mission is that the agreement for the construction was between the UAE based Red Crescent company, a charity organisation which is funding the construction of the flat project at Wadakkancherry in Thrissur district and Unitac Builders, who are constructing it and the state government has no role in it and hence the FIR is illegal and it should be quashed.
Ever since Vijayan assumed the kerala CM’s office in 2016, the Life Mission project became a pet project for him and was floated to build houses for landless and homeless. Using the funds, he raised through sponsorships. The state was limited to only providing the land.
Akkara first raised the questions about alleged wrongdoings in a building project in his Wadakkanchery constituency, for which the funds came from UAE based charity Red Crescent. That’s when the project ran into trouble.
Although Vijayan has been maintaining that the state, apart from handing over the land, he had no role in the project, things began to change after the Kerala gold smuggling case surfaced.
Through the UAE consulate, the particular project was routed, where the smuggling case main accused P.S. Sarith and Swapna Suresh earlier worked. It turned murkier when the news surfaced that a son of E.P. Jayarajan and Industries Minister was also close to Swapna.
John Brittas, Vijayan’s media adviser claimed that Rs. 4.25 crore was paid in the project as commission. Which was a stand endorsed by two state ministers.
Santhosh Eapen had already been questioned by the CBI, whose company Sane Ventures and Unitac was given a contract to build the houses and a health center.