Enforcement Directorate Initiates Probe into Alleged Payments to Kerala CM’s Daughter: Political Controversy Erupts

Feature and Cover Enforcement Directorate Initiates Probe into Alleged Payments to Kerala CM's Daughter Political Controversy Erupts

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has commenced an investigation into purported illicit payments made by a minerals company based in Kochi to the daughter of Kerala’s Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, as well as her software consulting firm, according to an official knowledgeable about the situation.

The federal agency’s Kochi unit has lodged an Enforcement Case Investigation Report (ECIR) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) to scrutinize payments amounting to ₹1.72 crore made by Cochin Minerals and Rutile Limited (CMRL) to Veena T, daughter of the Kerala CM, and Exalogic Solutions Private Limited, her owned firm, over a period of three years.

An ED official familiar with the matter stated: “We have registered a case and an investigation is underway.”

It is anticipated that the agency will issue notifications to Veena, officials of Exalogic and CMRL, as well as Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC), which holds a 13.4% stake in CMRL, concerning the matter.

Despite queries, the chief minister’s office did not provide a response. Meanwhile, the ruling CPI(M) party has alleged that investigative agencies like the ED are being politically exploited and used for monetary gains.

Leader of the Opposition, VD Satheesan, of the Congress party, has labeled ED’s actions as an “election stunt,” questioning the agency’s efficacy in other cases such as the Karuvannur bank fraud, Life Mission bribery case, and the gold smuggling case.

On the other hand, BJP leader V Muraleedharan has demanded an explanation from those implicated, stating, “Those who play the victim card like the CM and his daughter must explain how they got the money even though they did not render any services.”

Critics of the BJP argue that the party is leveraging central agencies such as the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to target political adversaries, pointing to recent arrests of leaders from opposition parties like Jharkhand’s former CM Hemant Soren of the JMM and Delhi’s CM Arvind Kejriwal of the AAP.

In parallel, the Special Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has been investigating alleged financial irregularities of Exalogic and CMRL, including payments reportedly made to various political parties.

Allegations against Veena surfaced last July following a ruling by the New Delhi bench of the Income Tax Interim Settlement Board, which stated that CMRL made monthly payments of ₹1.72 crore to Exalogic between 2017 and 2020 without evidence of services being rendered.

While opposition parties accuse CMRL of making kickbacks to Vijayan’s daughter in exchange for favors, the chief minister has refuted the claims, asserting his innocence during a session of the Assembly earlier this year.

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