ED interrogates Kerala CM's aide Raveendran in connection with Life Mission case

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Kochi: The Enforcement Directorate which has been probing an alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulations) Act in the Life Mission, a flagship housing project of the state government, on Tuesday interrogated Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's additional private secretary, C M Raveendran for over 10 hours.

Raveendran on Tuesday appeared before the ED, which has been probing the case.

The agency had earlier asked Raveendran to appear before it on February 27, but he cited official duties for not appearing on that day.

Raveendran reached the ED office here around 9.30 am and the interrogation went till a little before 8 PM.

Earlier, a few media houses had released the suspected chat between Raveendran and the prime accused in the controversial gold smuggling through UAE consulate case Swapna Suresh.

The agency has earlier arrested the former principal secretary to the chief minister, M Sivasankar, over his alleged involvement in the ED case.

The central agency had, on February 18, interrogated U V Jose -- the former CEO of Life Mission project -- in connection with its probe.

The CBI had in 2020 filed an FIR in a Kochi court under Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code and Section 35 of FCRA on a complaint by the then Wadakkanchery Congress MLA, Anil Akkara, listing Santosh Eappen, Managing Director of Unitac Builder, Kochi as the first accused and Sane Ventures as the second accused.

The two companies had undertaken the construction based on the agreement entered with them by Red Crescent, an international humanitarian movement, which had agreed to provide Rs 20 crore towards the Life Mission project.

The Congress has been alleging that there was corruption involved in the selection of the contractor by Red Crescent.

The alleged FCRA violation and corruption in the project had snowballed into a major political issue at the time with opposition parties charging that Suresh had admitted before an NIA court that she had received Rs 1 crore as commission from the project. She had reportedly claimed that the money was meant for Sivasankar.

However, the Life Mission CEO had submitted before the court that Unitac and Sane Ventures had undertaken the construction based on the agreement entered into with them by Red Crescent and had directly accepted foreign contributions from Red Crescent, which is a foreign agency.

The CEO had also contended that the companies which signed an agreement with Red Crescent do not come under the categories of persons prohibited from receiving any foreign contribution as per Section 3 of FCRA.


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