Vadakara: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is expanding its probe into the financial dealings of several business establishments in Vadakara allegedly linked with C M Raveendran, the additional private secretary of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, after inspecting a jewellery shop in the town. ED officials have received a tip-off that ‘benami’ investments have taken place in these firms. It is learnt that the officials are planning to collect the maximum evidence from these firms before questioning Raveendran on coming Wednesday or Tuesday.
Financial documents related to a textile shop, mobile showroom and electronics shop in Vadakara were unearthed by ED during the inspection at the jewellery. Dealings of the jewellery shop after October 2019, when the gold smuggling through diplomatic parcels began, are under special focus of the ED officials.
Several persons, including a former top state government officer based in Thiruvananthapuram, are allegedly investors in the businesses under scanner and are being questioned by ED.
Meanwhile, the Customs too is planning to interrogate Raveendran as former principal secretary to the Chief Minister M Sivasankar, Swapna Suresh and Sarith, who are now under arrest, have given statements against him.
His interrogation has been delayed by nearly a
month as he had tested positive for COVID-19 and after getting cured of it, his hospital stay prolonged owing to post-Covid complications.
Raveendran was discharged from the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital on Friday soon after the ED conducted checks at six
establishments in Vadakara, alleged to be linked to the senior official.
Raveendran was first asked to appear before ED on November 6. However, sought treatment after he tested positive for COVID-19 the day before, November 5. He tested negative 10 days later
and another notice was issued to appear on Friday. However, Raveendran again sought treatment for post-COVID complications such as cough and breathlessness at the Medical College Hospital on
Wednesday evening. As an X-ray and scanning tests found no health problems, he was discharged on Friday.
Sources say Raveendran left the hospital after taking into account the advice of CPM leadership. The party wanted to avoid any misgivings as
it was felt that he was avoiding interrogation. It was also felt that the questioning cannot be evaded forever.
However, the issue was not discussed by the state secretariat, party sources said.
The opposition had alleged that Raveendran was trying to evade questioning.