Hours after the enforcement directorate secured custody of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s former secretary M Sivasankar, in Bengaluru, the ED arrested Bineesh Kodiyeri, the son of CPI-M Kerala secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.
The ED arrested Bineesh in connection with funding of money to Anoop Mohamed, an accused in a narcotic case.
Mohamed was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau in Bengaluru a few months ago.
Bineesh was first interrogated by ED officials last month and soon after it had also sent him a notice under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and asked him to give the list of his assets. The agency also directed the state registration department to prepare a list of his assets and to see that there is no transfer or sale of his assets (properties) without their knowledge.
Bineesh was then asked to appear before them on October 21, but he wrote to ED that he needed time and appeared before them yesterday morning.
Soon he was taken into custody and later produced before a Bengaluru court .
Reacting to the developments, opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said this was not the first time Balakrishnan’s sons have landed in trouble. “The CPI-M in Kerala is now in custody. First the secretary to Vijayan – Sivasankar was arrested by enforcement directorate and now the CPI-M party secretary’s son has been arrested by ED in a narcotics case.
“Our request is Balakrishnan should not resign as state secretary. Only if he remains in that post, will it be good for us,” said Chennithala. “Look what’s happening, Vijayan’s office is in the midst of gold smuggling, while Balakrishnan’s home is a den of narcotics,” said Chennithala.
State BJP president K Surendran said “strange are the ways of what’s happening to the CPI-M in Kerala.”
“On one hand Vijayan is caught in the gold smuggling case and none will forget the decision of the CPI-M wherein they said the family members of all party members should be equally clean. See what has happened to Balakrishnan’s son. It’s time the CPI-M in Kerala undergoes a total cleansing. No state government in the country would have had such a double whammy on a single day.
“Both the chief minister and Balakrishnan should quit,” Surendran insisted.
However, putting up a brave front CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the BJP was acting desperate.
“The people in Kerala know everything. Already Balakrishnan had said that neither the party nor the government will come to the help of wrongdoers. This is going to affect the image of the opposition parties,” Yechury maintained.
The setback for the ruling CPI-M has come at a time when the party was getting ready to face two polls – for local bodies in December and the Assembly election in May 2021.
Meanwhile Vijayan yesterday appeared to be unfazed by the controversy.
Contrary to expectations, Vijayan made a surprise appearance to give out the daily Covid figures. After speaking about it, when the first question came about the day’s developments, he said, “First let me answer questions on Covid.” And after that when a question was asked about the arrest of Sivasankar, he said, “if there are more questions on this topic, I will bunch them together and answer.”
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