Kochi: Enforcement Directorate (ED) sleuths on Tuesday arrested Vadakanchery municipal councillor and CPM leader P R Aravindakshan in connection with the Karuvannur Cooperative Bank fraud case.
He was taken into custody from his house in Vadakanchery. This is the first time a CPM leader has been arrested in the Karuvannur bank fraud case.
A member of the Vadakanchery CPM area committee and former local secretary, Aravindakshan is also the chairman of the municipal council's standing committee.
In Vadakanchery, Aravindakshan is widely regarded as MLA AC Moideen's confidante.
Aravindakshan and middleman K A Jijor are the two persons who provided ED with the most information regarding the scam. It is based on their statements and the evidence they handed over that ED arrested the first accused P Satheesh Kumar and the second accused P P Kiran in the case.
Aravindakshan had filed a complaint at the Ernakulam Central Police Station alleging he was assaulted by ED officers during interrogation.
He was summoned to the ED office in Kochi on September 12. Aravindakshan alleged that he was beaten repeatedly using a bamboo stick and was made to bend down and hit on the neck.
However, days after the interrogation, the ED stated that Aravindakshan's complaint did not hold water.
Arrest an act of revenge by ED: MV Govindan
Responding to the arrest, CPM state secretary M V Govindan said the ED was taking revenge on Aravindakshan.
He said the arrest was in retaliation for complaining to the police about the beating and threats he had to face from the agency during questioning.
"This is a ploy of the central government to destroy the state's cooperative sector. However, the CPM is not ready to give into their plans and will ensure strong action is taken against this," said Govindan.
Meanwhile, former CPM MLA M K Kannan said the arrest is part of the witch-hunt launched by the central agency against the party. He said ED officials even forced Aravindakshan to say his name in the case.
CPM Thrissur district secretary M M Varghese said the arrest was the RSS and Sangh Parivar agenda being implemented by the Centre through the ED.
"The ED wants to drag the name of several leaders into the issue. The party will not substantiate the agency's allegations. We will go to any legal extent to fight the accusations," he said.