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Monthly payment controversy: Kerala High Court orders vigilance probe on CM Pinarayi Vijayan and others

The High Court has taken decisive action on the petition seeking a vigilance probe over the monthly payment controversy of Cochin Minerals and Rutile Ltd to Veena's firm Exalogic Solutions.

Monthly payment controversy: Kerala High Court orders vigilance probe on CM Pinarayi Vijayan and others rkn
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First Published Dec 8, 2023, 1:39 PM IST

Kochi: The High Court has taken decisive action on the petition seeking a vigilance probe over the monthly payment controversy of Cochin Minerals and Rutile Ltd to Veena's firm Exalogic Solutions.on Friday (Dec 8). The court directed to send notices to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, his daughter Veena Vijayan, Ramesh Chennithala, Kunhalikutty, and other political leaders.

Justice K Babu said that a decision cannot be taken without hearing the opposing parties. The arguments of the opposing parties in the case will be heard and the order will be delayed. The High Court has intervened in a petition filed by Girish Babu, a Kalamassery native based on the records of Income Tax Settlement Board. The report pointed out that an illegal payment of Rs 1.72 crore was made by CMRIL to Exalogic. The officials of the CMRL has said that the payment was made and no services were offered by Veena's company.

The petition was initially filed in the Muvattupuzha Vigilance Court however, the court rejected it. The petitioner then approached the High Court for further hearing. However, Girish Babu died while the case was in the HC.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan responded to the High Court's order by saying "You don't have to worry, I don't. Let the notice come,”. The chief minister's response came during the New Kerala meeting in Ernakulam district.

The court appointed amicus curiae after the demise of Girish Babu for further investigation.  The plea demands a vigilance investigation against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, his daughter Veena, Ramesh Chennithala, and Kunhalikutty for taking money from the brown sand company. The amicus curiae's report stated the Vigilance Court's conclusion, asserting a lack of evidence in the case. The report suggested that, given the testimony indicating money was paid to political leaders, a preliminary inquiry should have been ordered. 

The Income Tax Dispute Resolution Board has deemed the payment of Rs 1.72 crore by a private company to Pinarayi Vijayan's daughter, Veena, on August 09, 2023, as illegal. The board also found that leaders, including Ramesh Chennithala and Kunhalikutty, received money from CMRL. Congress MLA Mathew Kuzhalnadan sought to bring attention to this month-long controversy against the Chief Minister's daughter in the assembly. However, the ruling party and Speaker AN Shamsir blocked the move, and there was no support from the opposition. 

After this Girish Babu filed a complaint against 12 people, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Veena, and Ramesh Chennithala, to the vigilance court, seeking an investigation under the Prevention of Corruption Act on August 14, 2023. Later, Girish Babu filed a revision petition in the High Court against the dismissal of the petition. Girish's lawyer informed the High Court that since the complainant Girish Babu had died, the family was not interested in proceeding with the petition. With this, the High Court appointed amicus curiae in the petition seeking vigilance investigation.

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