Kerala flyover scam: Ebrahim Kunju withdraws plea seeking lifting of bail condition

Kerala Flyover scam: Ebrahim Kunju withdraws plea seeking lifting of bail condition
V K Ebrahim Kunju

Kochi: Former Kerala Minister and IUML leader V K Ebrahim Kunju, who was granted bail on health grounds after being arrested in connection with a flyover scam, on Wednesday withdrew a plea seeking lifting of a bail condition after the High Court made strong observations against him.

In his plea, Kunju, an accused in the Palarivattom flyover scam, sought lifting of a bail condition that he shall not leave Ernakulam district without the permission of the Vigilance court.

Considering the plea, Justice P V Kunhikrishnan orally observed that bail was granted on serious health grounds but after securing it he was seen attending public programmes.

Expressing doubts over his conduct, the court sought to know whether he had misled it on his health conditions to secure bail.

The court allowed Kunju to withdraw the petition after counsel for Kunju sought permission for it in view of the court's observation against his client.

Earlier, counsel for the state government opposed the plea, alleging that Kunju secured the bail by misleading the court on his health.

The government also alleged that if the bail condition restraining his travel outside the district is lifted, he would try to influence witnesses in the case.

The high court on January 8 had granted bail to Kunju, arrested by the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) in the flyover scam, considering his ill-health.

The former PWD minister was arrested on November 18 in connection with alleged corruption in the construction of a flyover at Palarivattom here during the previous Congress-led UDF rule.

The Vigilance had alleged that Kunju sanctioned interest-free funds to the contracting company, which had built the flyover, now closed after it developed cracks within a year of its inauguration in 2016.

Kunju has dismissed as "politically motivated" the charges that he was responsible for the poor quality of the bridge, built when he was the PWD minister in the previous UDF government headed by Oommen Chandy.  

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-meter-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.

(With inputs from PTI)

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