After Kejriwal, is it Pinarayi Vijayan’s turn? ED Investigates Kerala CM’s Daughter’s Company

The inquiry, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), focuses on suspected illegal payments from a private mineral firm.
After Kejriwal, is it Pinarayi Vijayan’s turn? ED Investigates Kerala CM’s Daughter’s Company

New Delhi: Close on the heels of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has launched an inquiry into alleged money laundering, involving Veena Vijayan, the daughter of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, and her IT company.

The investigation, conducted under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), is poised to delve into purported illegal payments originating from a private mineral firm.

The beginning of this inquiry can be traced back to a “meticulous” examination by the Income Tax Department, which reportedly unearthed “irregularities” concerning Cochin Minerals And Rutile Ltd (CMRL), a private entity.

It is alleged that CMRL made a payment of Rs 1.72 crore to Veena’s company, Exalogic Solutions, between 2018 to 2019. Remarkably, it has been asserted that the firm did not furnish any discernible services to the CMRL, raising red flags about the nature and legitimacy of the transactions.

Adding another layer of complexity to the situation, the Karnataka High Court recently dismissed a plea filed by Exalogic Solutions, contesting the investigation initiated by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO). This legal development underscores the escalating gravity of the matter and hints at potential ramifications for all parties involved.

As the investigation progresses, the spotlight remains firmly fixed on Veena, her company and the individuals implicated in this alleged intricate web of financial impropriety.

The Mooknayak reached out to several leaders of the Left government in the state to know their party’s stand on the ED case but none wanted to comment on it.

Dr. Ravindra Rana, a senior journalist, said such actions would be initiated in every state, which is not governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“It’s important to recognize that these raids aren’t solely aimed at stifling Opposition parties but are also orchestrated to craft a narrative around them, portraying the BJP as a party actively working against corruption,” he opined.

On March 21, the spotlight shifted to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal as he was taken into custody by the ED. His arrest was followed by Hemant Soren, the former Chief Minister of Jharkhand.

The strategy behind these arrests, critics said, appears to be aimed at “incapacitating” Soren’s party by “removing” its key campaigners and thereby “disrupting” its campaign network.

They said this “tactical” move gains significance in the context of recent actions taken by the ED, which has been “actively targeting” senior ministers in various states.

The incarceration of influential figures like Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain from the Delhi government, according to them, emphasizes a “broader pattern” of ministers being “singled out” for legal scrutiny.

The ED’s reach extends beyond the boundaries of Delhi, with ministers in states such as Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand also coming under its radar.

“This concerted effort to target political figures across multiple regions raises questions about the motivations driving these actions and their potential impact on the political landscape,” they opined.

As the arrests of prominent leaders continue to unfold, the underlying dynamics of power, politics and legal maneuvering are brought into sharper focus.

In February 2024, Priyanka Chaturvedi, a Rajya Sabha member representing Shiv Sena (UBT), highlighted the ED predominantly targets Opposition leaders in 97% of political cases it files, with a meagre conviction rate ranging between two to three percent.

Professor Trilochan Sastry of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) stated such ED cases set a very dangerous precedent. He sees a visible pattern in the raids and summons, which “only tend to target the members of the Opposition parties”.

“These agencies have never raided or arrested any leader from the ruling party which makes us question the agenda behind it,” Sastry stated.

“The Supreme Court said many years ago that the CBI is a ‘caged parrot’, so such a pattern is really not surprising.”

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