Kerala HC Issues Notice to CM and Daughter in CMRL Case

The Kerala HC has issued a notice to CM, his daughter and others in response to a petition filed by Congress MLA Mathew Kuzhalnadan, alleging corruption
Kerala HC Issues Notice to CM and Daughter in CMRL Case

The Kerala High Court has issued a notice to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, his daughter Veena Thaikandiyil, and others in response to a petition filed by Congress MLA Mathew Kuzhalnadan, alleging corruption. Kuzhalnadan's plea demands an investigation into the alleged financial transactions between Veena's now-defunct IT firm, Exalogic Solutions, and the private mining company Cochin Minerals and Rutile Ltd (CMRL).

Justice K. Babu notified CM Vijayan, his daughter, Exalogic Solutions, and CMRL, setting the next hearing for July 7. The case has intensified the opposition's attacks on the Chief Minister, his daughter, and the ruling CPI(M). Reports have emerged that CMRL paid Rs 1.72 crore to Veena’s IT firm between 2017 and 2020, despite no services rendered, allegedly due to her relationship with a "prominent person."

Leader of Opposition VD Satheesan reiterated the Congress party's support for MLA Kuzhalnadan’s legal battle. Kuzhalnadan approached the High Court after a vigilance court rejected his plea for a court-monitored investigation into the allegations. On May 6, the Special Judge (Vigilance) dismissed the complaint, stating it lacked the necessary facts to constitute corruption.

Kuzhalnadan's plea seeks a Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Department probe into allegations that Exalogic Solutions received monthly payments from CMRL in exchange for mining sanctions. The Enforcement Directorate (ED), Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), and Income Tax Department have recorded statements from multiple individuals involved, excluding Veena Thaikandiyil.

On March 27, 2024, reports indicated that the ED had filed a money laundering case related to the alleged "illegal payments" to Veena and her company, despite no services being provided to CMRL. The issue gained prominence last year after an Income Tax Settlement Board statement revealed that Exalogic Solutions received Rs 1.72 crore from CMRL.

Kuzhalnadan's complaint alleges that CMRL made bogus payments to Exalogic Solutions and Veena Thaikandiyil to secure favors from the Chief Minister and ensure smooth operations for the company. It is claimed that a monthly payment of Rs 3,00,000 was made to Exalogic under the pretense of availing IT and marketing consultancy services. Additionally, an amount of Rs 5,00,000 was allegedly paid monthly to Veena Thaikandiyil for her role as an IT and Marketing Consultant.

The case has sparked a significant political controversy in Kerala, with opposition parties using it to target the ruling government. The High Court's decision to issue notices marks a critical development in the ongoing investigation and legal proceedings surrounding the alleged corruption involving the Chief Minister and his daughter. The matter will continue to unfold as the court hearing approaches, with potential implications for Kerala's political landscape.