The Enforcement Directorate has issued a notice to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's additional private secretary C M Raveendran to appear before it on December 10, on the day of the second phase of the local body polls.
His interrogation will be based on the statements given by one of the prime accused in the gold smuggling case, Swapna Suresh, and would be related to the charge that influential sources in the Chief Minister's Office had received illegal gratification in the grant of contracts for major infrastructure and welfare projects.
Raveendran's interrogation also comes close on the heels of the ED seeking his and his wife's property details from the Registration Department. The information has been sought from the district registrar generals of Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode and Kannur. Official sources said the ED had also raided certain firms in Kozhikode and Kannur that allegedly has links to Raveendran.
This is the third time the ED is issuing a notice to Raveendran. The first time, he could not appear as he had contracted COVID-19 the day after he received the ED notice and was admitted to Thiruvananthapuram Medical College. The second time, when he was supposed to be present at the ED office on November 27, he informed the ED that he had post-COVID complications.
At this point, the party had intervened fearing that Raveendran's repeated refusals to appear before the ED could give rise to unnecessary suspicions, causing needless embarrassment for h party at the time of polls. The party wanted Raveendran to accept the ED notice the next time he received it.
It is also noteworthy that coinciding with the ED's notice to Raveendran, the CPM had mounted the political charge that the central agencies were attempting to implicate Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the gold smuggling case and Wadakkancherry Life Mission scam.
The Chief Minister's former top bureaucrat M Sivasankar had told the court that the ED officials were forcing him to give the Chief Minister's name. Later, in an audio clip that was leaked, Swapna also says that he was being pressurised to give the Chief Minister's name.