Thomas Isaac moves HC challenging ED summons in KIIFB transactions

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Thomas Isaac | Photo: Binoj P

Kochi: Former Kerala Finance Minister and CPM Central Committee member Thomas Issac on Wednesday filed a writ petition in the Kerala High Court challenging the summons issued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for interrogation in connection with the financial transactions of the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB).

ED has issued the second summons to him asking to appear before it on Thursday at its Kochi office.'

The petition seeks to quash the ED summons and seeks an interim relief to restrain the ED from initiating any coercive steps against him in furtherance of the summons.

Single Bench of Justice VG Arun will consider the petition on Thursday.

In the petition, he contended that "without disclosing the real nature of the investigation, the petitioner has asked to appear on August 11 to explain his role in the KIIFB. Though the summons mentions provisions of the FEMA and the IT Act, it does not reveal what are the violations to which the petitioner is required to respond."

The attempt of the ED is to initiate a "fishing and roving enquiry" by keeping the petitioner in dark about the real nature of the allegations. The "fishing a roving enquiry" had been time and again deprecated by the Apex Court. It is a trite and settled law that the investigation can only be with regard to any offence.

KIIFB is a statutory body under the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Act and the petitioner's role has been in accordance with the statutory provisions. The details pertaining to KIIFB and the petitioner's role are available in the public domain. Before the summons was actually served to the petitioner, it was leaked to the media, giving "political overtones" to the issue.

Such unwarranted fishing and roving enquiry into the activities of a body corporate duly incorporated under the relevant statute enacted by the State Legislature, functioning in accordance with the provisions of the said statute as well as other statutes are in violation of the federal structure under the Constitution.

ED had repeatedly summoned the Chief Executive Officer, Deputy Managing Director, Joint Fund Manager and Assistant General Manager of KIIFB over a period of one and a half years starting from March 2021. As KIIFB is extending financial assistance to various development projects in the State, repeated interference by the ED will affect the body's fund mobilization efforts. ED officials are acting unfairly with malafide motives and apprehend "unlawful incarceration" at the behest of the agency.


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