CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has stepped down from the post. The official CPM version is that Kodiyeri Balakrishnan himself had offered to quit at the State Secretariat held in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday citing the need to travel outside Kerala for advanced treatment.
LDF convenor A Vijayaraghavan has now been asked to take over the charge of the CPM state secretary. It is still not clear whether there would be a new convenor.
Though the party has officially put out that Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has been granted “holiday” for further treatment, the CPM will find it hard to put down the impression that it was Bineesh Kodiyeri's involvement in a money laundering case related to drug peddling that has forced Kodiyeri to vacate the top post in the party.
The Enforcement Directorate had arrested Bineesh for alleged money laundering under Section 19 (1) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act after the arrest of Mohammed Anoop, who was allegedly involved in selling drugs to the elite clubs in Bengaluru. Bineesh is now in Bengaluru Central Prison, in judicial custody till November 25.
There were murmurs within the party of the wisdom of Kodiyeri stepping aside after the ED had raided his son's house in Thiruvananthapuram last week. There were also serious misgivings within the party of the impression that had gained ground that the party was shielding Bineesh.
The CPM's political stand against central agencies, and the attempts of the state police to block the ED officials who had arrived to raid Bineesh's house, fanned the perception that the party was going all out to support Bineesh Kodyeri.
A senior leader like M M Lawrence had even openly voiced his dissent. Initially, the CPM sought to distance Kodiyeri Balakrishnan from the alleged deeds of his son, throwing to winds the rectification documents of the party that spoke of the discipline expected from the family of party members.
"The CPM state secretary cannot be held accountable for the actions of his son," the LDF convener A Vijayraghavn had said when Bineesh was first questioned by the ED in August. The party spokespersons in channel discussions had even celebrated Kodiyeri's statement that his son should get the maximum punishment if found guilty as an example of selfless leadership. Kodyeri also declared before the media that the party came above family.
However, party sources said Kodiyeri had to move out, even if temporarily, for it to fare well in the local body polls.