Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Friday granted bail to former Kerala PWD Minister V K Ebrahim Kunju, arrested in the Palarivattom flyover scam.
The Kalamassery MLA and a prominent Muslim League leader was granted bail considering his ill health.
During the bail period, he will not be allowed to travel outside Ernakulam district. He also has to surrender his passport to the high court.
Kunju was arrested in connection with the alleged irregularity in the construction of the Palarivattom flyover in Kochi. The flyover, which remained closed for months, is being reconstructed.
The irregularities in the Palarivattom flyover construction came into limelight last year.
It is suspected that Ebrahim Kunju, who was the PWD minister in the Oommen Chandy government when the bridge was constructed, intervened to release an amount in advance to the building contractor for the flyover work. Though there were no provisions in the agreement, an amount of Rs 8.25 crore was paid as advance to the company with a meagre interest rate of seven per cent. This resulted in a yearly loss of Rs 57 lakh to the state government, the Vigilance Department had told the Kerala High Court.
Former Public Works Secretary T O Sooraj, former KITCO MD Sumit Goyal and RBDCK company GM P D Thankachan were arrested in connection with the case earlier.
Last year, Sooraj, the fourth accused in the case, had raised charges against Ebrahim Kunju in the Vigilance court.
Implicating the former minister, Sooraj stated the order to release the advance amount without interest to RDS Projects was issued by the then PWD minister Ebrahim Kunju after Mohammed Hanish, the MD of the Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala (RBDCK), had made a recommendation in this regard.
RDS Projects was the flyover builder and Hanish's RBDCK was the agency implementing the project.
The Palarivattom flyover was inaugurated on October 12, 2016. The flaws in the flyover were detected in July 2017 and the facility was closed for traffic on May 1, 2019, owing to safety concerns.
Within just two-and-a-half-years of operation, the 750-metre-long bridge, built at a cost of Rs 42 crore, began to develop faults and cracks. A team from the IIT Madras had found several cracks in the girders and pillars. It was also found that these cracks were expanding.