EP Jayarajan found with Nandakumar, a VS acolyte and middleman of Ambanis and Adanis

EP Jayarajan honouring Nandakumar's mother at a function held in a temple in Kochi; EP Jayarajan and KV Thomas in conversation with Nandakumar's mother. Screengrab: Manorama News

Kochi: The CPM state secretary M V Govindan's People's Resistance March, at least in its initial phases, is creating headlines more for LDF convener E P Jayarajan's non-participation than for any of the political issues Govindan had sought to raise.

Now, a video clip and photographs have surfaced of Jayarajan attending a private function organised at Vennala in Kochi by the mysterious middleman T G Nandakumar a day before the People's Resistance March was flagged off from Kasaragod on February 20. Nandakumar is known for his close ties with former Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan and was once the point man of big corporate houses like Reliance and Adani Group.

The video clip shows Jayarajan felicitating the 80-year-old mother of Nandakumar by draping a shawl around her. Former Congress leader K V Thomas is also present. Nandakumar is also seen, masked and in a dark blue tee-shirt, playing the host. The way Nandakumar and Jayarajan interact in the video suggests a close friendship.

Nonetheless, Jayarajan later told Manorama News that he had not gone to Nandakumar's house, and that the meeting took place in the mess hall of a temple.

Jayarajan said he was in Kochi to visit a party worker who was about to have a liver transplant. It was the party worker's mother who was donating the liver. Jayarajan said he visited the hospital and then the house of the party worker.

"It was then that Murali (M V Muraleedharan, a former Congress leader who defected to the CPM recently, during the Thrikkakara byelection) told me about this temple festival at Vyttila where people of all religions visit. I was told that Thomas Mash (K V Thomas) was also there. At the temple, they introduced me to an old lady, said she was the seniormost 'amma' here and I draped a shawl around her," Jayarajan said, suggesting that he had no idea at that moment that it was Nandakumar's mother.

Nandakumar, too, told news channels that it was Muraleedharan and not he who had invited Jayarajan to the temple.

However, the small snatch of conversation in the video clip suggests otherwise. It sounded like Nandakumar had invited Jayarajan to attend his mother's 80th birthday celebration on January 21 but for some reason, he could not. It was also clear that K V Thomas had attended the 80th birthday of Nandakumar's mother.

Achuthanandan's man

At the height of CPM factionalism, Nandakumar was highly detested by the official faction led by Pinarayi Vijayan.

In 2013, the party was firmly of the view that Achuthanandan had used the services of Nandakumar to get a Supreme Court verdict against the then party secretary Pinarayi in the SNC-Lavalin case. In fact, a probe conducted by the party's Central Committee member P Karunakaran had found merit in the allegation.

The Achuthanandan-Nandakumar conspiracy angle was first articulated by Achuthanandan's former private secretary S Rajendran; Rajendran was appointed as the CM's PS by Pinarayi but Achuthanandan booted him out after a short term.

Rajendran said he was a witness to all the meetings that Achuthanandan had with top judges of the Supreme Court and High Court, including Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, Justice H L Dattu and Kerala High Court Chief Justice V K Bali. Rajendran said all these meetings were arranged by Nandakumar.

Nandakumar himself had gone on record saying that he was close to Justice Bali's son, Puneet Bali, and that he had met Justice Bali at his official residence.

Consultant for Reliance and Adani

It is still a puzzle how an ordinary villager with no business or political or even family backing was chosen by powerful corporations like Reliance and Adani Group to get their things done in Kerala. He was their 'political consultant'. His job, by Nandakumar's own admission, was to remove any political hurdles in the way of the projects of the big players.

It is widely known that it was Nandakumar who had convinced V S Achuthanandan to open Reliance Fresh outlets in Kerala in 2007. Nandakumar had even claimed this as his personal victory.

In 2009, the Achuthanandan government had taken the controversial decision to hand over the management of the state data centre and three network operating centres for three years to Reliance. Behind this was Nandakumar's persuasion.

The succeeding Oommen Chandy government went to the Supreme Court seeking a CBI probe into the Reliance deal. In 2014, the CBI closed the case citing a lack of evidence. Yet, in its closure report, the CBI called Nandakumar a "fraudster".

Gautam Adani had used him to clear the path for a power plant in Cheemeni, Kasaragod. However, he could not succeed as Achuthanandan, who was then the Chief Minister, insisted that the Adani Group as a precondition should invest heavily in Kasaragod's social infrastructure, especially in hospitals and schools. Adani had backed out.

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