KIIFB row: Kerala govt officers cry mental harassment by ED

KIIFB row: Kerala govt officers cry mental harassment by ED

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government and the Centre are engaged in a shadow fight of sorts as the state election draws near. Caught in the midst of these political games are the officers of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) who are investigating the overseas borrowings undertaken by the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB). The Kochi-based ED officials who tried to engage in some mind games with Kerala government officials prior to their formal questioning have been blamed for trying to scare them by throwing crockery items.

The ongoing spat between the Centre and the Left Democratic Front (LDF) Government has taken such a nasty turn that KIIFB Chief Executive Officer K M Abraham has already filed a complaint against the ED. The government is considering legal action and registration of cases based on the complaint.

The scared woman employee

In the complaint submitted to the Chief Secretary, Abraham had also alleged that the ED officials had threatened and mentally harassed even the women staff of KIIFB who were summoned for questioning. This refers to the experience of a woman officer holding the rank of additional secretary.

She had gone on deputation to the KIIFB from the finance department. She was part of the team which had gone to London for training in fund management ahead of the release of the Masala Bond by the KIIFB.

She had claimed she was threatened and mentally harassed in the midst of questioning.

Even though an official of the protocol office had brought a complaint of similar nature against the ED to the notice of the state government earlier, DGP Loknath Behera had then stated that it was not appropriate to register a case against the central agency.

Ordeal of two other officers

The additional secretary and two other officials of the finance department who had arrived at the ED office in Kochi on receiving summons too had to face severe mental harassment. Their ordeal was narrated to the Chief Secretary and Finance Minister by the KIIFB CEO.

As per their claims, the ED personnel tried to scare them by dropping glasses of water and coffee cups.

As they were being questioned a person came with three glasses of water. When the officials held their hand out to take them, the glasses were deliberately thrown on the floor. The staff left without even saying sorry. Another person came and cleaned the floor.

Another person followed with a hot cup of coffee a little later. When the additional secretary extended his hand to receive it, the cup was thrown on the floor and broken. The coffee spilled on the additional secretary’s leg causing minor burns. Again another person came and cleaned the floor.

The state government believes that these tactics were employed by the ED with the intention of intimidating the officials. However, the officials who were at the receiving end are not ready to give individual complaints at this stage.

CM's stand

The central agency had registered a case and summoned the KIIFB staff for questioning in connection with the issue of Masala Bonds.

Though Kerala Chief Minister had referred to the questioning of KIIFB officials by ED in his letter written to the Chief Electoral Officer the other day, he did not spell out the details. The government is planning to secure complaints from the officials based on their experiences after they appeared before the ED for questioning and then initiate a criminal case against the central agency.

In the wake of the government plan to confront ED on this matter, the officials have been asked not to appear before the ED for the questioning scheduled for this week. The state government alleged that the decision to register a case in connection with the issue of Rs 2,150 crore Masala Bonds in the London Stock Exchange is nothing but a political move ahead of the assembly polls.

The latest tit-for-tat moves is likely to lead to a confrontation between the centre and the state besides becoming a hot topic of discussion during the polls.

As was reported earlier the LDF government's moves against the ED now and the CBI earlier are part of its strategy to make a counter-attack when cornered over a slew of embarrassing scandals like the smuggling of gold and dollars as well as the drug and rape cases involving a few people close to the CPM.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.