24 Aug 2023 8:53 AM GMT
A plea has been filed before the Court of the Enquiry Commissioner and Special Judge (Vigilance) in Kerala's Muvattupuzha, seeking investigation into the alleged bribery carried out by high ranking public officials of the State in connection with the mining and other business interests of the Cochin Minerals and Rutile Ltd (CMRL). The Vigilance Court had, on Wednesday, returned the plea on...
A plea has been filed before the Court of the Enquiry Commissioner and Special Judge (Vigilance) in Kerala's Muvattupuzha, seeking investigation into the alleged bribery carried out by high ranking public officials of the State in connection with the mining and other business interests of the Cochin Minerals and Rutile Ltd (CMRL).
The Vigilance Court had, on Wednesday, returned the plea on the ground that the affidavit by the petitioner Gireesh Babu did not contain the necessary documents regarding the incident.
The petitioner has thus filed the present plea on correcting the same.
The petitioner accuses Veena Thaikandiyil (Veena Vijayan), daughter of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan (2nd accused), and her company Exalogic Solutions Pvt. ltd. (1st and 7th accused respectively), for having received illegal consideration under the guise of her father.
Apart from the above, other public servants such as the leader of the Opposition and Congress MLA Ramesh Chennithala, MLA Kunhalikutty, former Minister for Public Works V.K. Ibrahim Kunju, and A. Govindan have also been named as other accused in the matter for having received illegal gratification; while CMRL, its Managing Director Sathivilas Narayan Kartha Sasidharan Kartha (9th accused), the Chief Financial Officer K.S. Suresh Kumar (10th accused), and the Chief General Manager of Finance and Company Secretary P. Suresh Kumar are alleged to have given out bribes for illegal gratification.
The Company had earlier received backlash with respect to illegal mining of ilmenite, which is expected to cause severe environmental impact.
The petitioner states that accused 1 to 7 had received bribes in order to obtain undue advantage in the business carried out by KMRL. The petitioner avers that the Income Tax Authorities had surfaced evidence revealing illicit relationship between the company officials and several politicians, particularly those arrayed as the accused herein.
The petitioner states that CMRL's MD Kartha had also admitted that an amount of Rs. 40,46,29,271 consisting of inflated payments made to vendors which was received by them in cash was utilized for making payments to accused 1 to 7 and several others. The petitioner further states that even the CFO of the Company had deposed that the Company was receiving large number of threats and to overcome the same, illegal payments were made to various individuals and media houses.
"Hence, it is evident that such payments were made to accused 1 to 7 in order to obtain undue advantage in mining of Ilmenite, in return for illegal gratification in the form of money and thereby Accused 2 to 6 have misused their official position and also caused loss of public revenue. Moreover, due to their silence and non-action in return for the illegal consideration received by them, severe environmental problems arose in the state, especially thepollution of the Periyar River through the activities of Accused 8 to 12. Hence, the actions of the accused herein attract the offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 as they have misused their powers in exchange for monetary benefits," the petitioner states.
The petitioner further claims that Rs.3,00,000/- was given to 7th accused Company and Rs.5,00,000/- to the 1st accused Veena Vijayan who is the sole owner and Managing Director of the said Company, on a monthly basis based on an alleged agreement for giving software services, while there had not been any valid agreement executed in this regard between the 1st accused and 11th accused.
The petitioner adds that the verifications done at the corporate office and the factory revealed that no such services were being rendered by the 1st or 7th accused persons. The petitioner states that the Interim Settlement Board-II, Delhi had also termed such transaction as bogus.
The petitioner submits that it is possible that there may be unaccounted havala money involved in such transactions, and the same also requires to be investigated.
The petitioner claims that the accused persons had colluded, as a result of which the government had purchased shares of CMRL. The KSIDC also purchased shares in KMRL, as a result of which it would have been entitled for proportionate shares, but by giving bogus statement, CMRL limited the declared profit of the company by writing off huge sum of money as expense, which was also found by the Settlement Board, it is averred.
"Such a malpractice was done by the collusion of the accused persons in order to avail money for handing out bribes to accused 1 to 7. Thereby, the share of profit entitled for the government undertaking KSIDC too has reduced drastically. This has caused a massive dent in the profit share of KSIDC. Likewise, the public exchequer has lost a considerable amount due to the illegal agreements, bribery and misuse of power by those in responsible positions in order to provide undue advantages," the plea further states.
In such circumstances, the petitioner has sought investigation into the alleged bribery.
Case Title: Gireesh Babu v. Veena Thaikandiyil & Ors.