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Kerala High Court issues notice to CM Pinarayi Vijayan and his daughter Veena in a corruption case

Justice K Babu issued notice to CM Vijayan, his daughter Veena, her firm Exalogic Solutions, and the mining company Cochin Minerals and Rutile Ltd (CMRL). The matter will now be heard on 7th July. 

On Tuesday (18th June), the Kerala High Court issued notice to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, his daughter Veena Thaikandiyil, and others while hearing a petition filed by Congress MLA Mathew Kuzhalnadan who has accused them of corruption. In his plea, the Congress MLA has demanded a probe against the CM over the alleged financial transactions between his daughter’s now-defunct IT firm and a private mining company.

Justice K Babu notified CM Vijayan, his daughter Veena, her firm Exalogic Solutions, and the mining company Cochin Minerals and Rutile Ltd (CMRL). The matter will now be heard on 7th July. 

It is pertinent to note that the opposition parties including Congress have been launching scathing attacks on the Chief Minister, his daughter, and the ruling CPI(M) after it was reported that CRML paid Rs 1.72 crore to Veena’s IT firm between 2017 and 2020. It was alleged that though her IT firm didn’t render any service, the amount was paid monthly “due to her relationship with a prominent person.”

Leader of Opposition in Kerala assembly, VD Satheesan said that the Congress party was strongly behind MLA Mathew Kuzhalnadan’s legal fight. Kuzhalnadan approached the High Court after a vigilance court rejected his plea that sought a court-monitored probe into the allegations of corruption against the CM and his daughter. On 6th May, the Special Judge (Vigilance) had rejected the complaint. The vigilance court had stated that necessary facts constituting corruption were absent in the plea.

In his plea, the Congress MLA had sought a Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Department probe into the allegations that Veena’s IT firm Exalogic got monthly gratification from CMRL for mining sanctions. 

The alleged financial transactions have been under agencies radar

Incidentally, several agencies, including the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), and Income Tax Department, have recorded the statements of many people, except T Veena in this case. Earlier, on 27th March 2024, it was reported that the ED had filed a money laundering case against them in connection with the said “illegal payments” to CM’s daughter Veena and her company without the IT firm offering any service to the mining company. 

Reports citing sources stated that ED had booked Veena and others after taking cognisance of a complaint filed by the SFIO which is an investigative arm of the Union corporate affairs ministry. According to reports, the SFIO was already investigating transactions suspected to be illegal payments for favours received by a mining company from the Kerala government for sand mining in coastal areas of Alappuzha and Kollam.

The case regarding ‘illegal financial transactions’ was highlighted by the Congress leader last year based on an Income Tax Settlement Board statement which pointed out that Exalogic Solutions received Rs 1.72 crore from CMRL.

In his complaint, the Congress MLA had alleged that CMRL made some bogus payment to Exalogic Solutions and Mrs. Veena Thaikandiyil. It is alleged that the payment was made to obtain favours from the CM and ensure the company’s smooth operation. Additionally, it is claimed that a monthly payment of Rs. 3,00,000 was made to Exalogic under the guise of availing its IT and marketing consultancy services. Furthermore, an amount of Rs. 5,00,000 was allegedly paid each month to Mrs. Veena Thaikandiyil, purportedly for engaging her as an IT and Marketing Consultant.

Reportedly, Exalogic Solutions is a one-person company, and Veena Thaikandiyil, daughter of the Chief Minister, is its sole director. 

Meanwhile, a similar petition was filed by a Kochi resident on alleged corruption by CM Vijayan, but the petitioner died. During today’s hearing, the High Court appointed an amicus curiae and stated that both petitions, though similar, would be heard separately.

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