CBI begins probe into Life Mission's financial dealings with Dubai-based Red Crescent

CBI begins probe into Life Mission's financial dealings with Dubai-based Red Crescent

The Central Bureau of Investigation has begun an investigation into Life Mission's financial dealings with Dubai-based Red Crescent.

The probe agency filed a First Information Report in a special court in Ernakulam on Friday.

The case was registered based on a complaint by Congress MLA Anil Akkara, who alleged corruption to the tune of Rs 9 crore in the construction of 140 flats in his constituency Wadakkancherry.

Life Mission, the Kerala government's housing project for the homeless, has been mired in controversy in the wake of alleged gold smuggling via diplomatic baggage.  The case is being probed by central investigative agencies.

Swapna Suresh, prime accused in the case, had reportedly told probe officials that the Rs 1 crore discovered in her bank locker was the “commission” she had received for securing the flat construction deal for Unitac Builders. This was later confirmed by the Unitac MD.

With the opposition parties alleging that ruling coalition is hand-in-glove with the smuggling racket, the state government on Wednesday ordered a Vigilance probe into the smuggling incident.

Alleging that Vigilance probe was just a government attempt to buy time, Opposition parties had earlier sought a CBI probe into the case.

CPM alleges misuse of probe agencies

The CPM State Secretariat has come down hard on the Centre's decision to launch a CBI probe into the Wadakkancherry Life Mission project. An official statement of the CPM Secretariat called the decision "extraordinary and politically motivated".

If earlier the CPM was reluctant to directly allege that the central agencies were being misused by the Centre, the CBI probe seems have goaded the party towards that direction even though it had not gone full throttle. "It can be doubted whether this move was an attempt to misuse investigating agencies," was the CPM's guarded allegation.

It is more shock than anger that the CPM statement exhibits. "The CBI behaved like it was implementing a public statement made by the BJP state president," the official CPM release said. It also alleged a secret BJP-Congress deal. "What the BJP president, K Surendran, said in the morning was later repeated by opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala," it said.

It also expressed surprise that the CBI probe was launched on the basis of a complaint filed by a Congress MLA (Anil Akkara). This was unprecedented, the statement added.

"The CBI normally takes up a case when a state government makes a demand. The CBI can also take up cases on the basis of Supreme Court and High Court verdicts on crimes committed within a state. But this one, citing the technicality of Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) violation, is illegal and smacks of misuse of power," it said.

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