Kerala HC orders interim stay on CBI probe into Life Mission project

South India

The court has rejected the government plea for quashing the FIR and allowed the CBI to go ahead with investigation against Unitac Builders, which was allotted the contract for building the houses under the project. 

In a minor relief to Kerala’s Left Democratic Front government, the high court on Tuesday ordered an interim stay for two months on the CBI probe into alleged corruption and irregularities in the Life Mission project at Wadakkancherry in Thrissur district.

Justice V G Arun passed the order on a petition filed by Life Mission Chief Executive Officer UV Jose with the observation that the central investigating agency could not give sufficient evidence to establish Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) violations. The court has posted the case for detailed hearing before a physical bench.

However, the court did not quash the FIR filed by CBI in the alleged discrepancies of awarding the contract for the construction of the houses under the project to Unitac Builders and Developers amd allowed the CBI to continue with the investigation.

The agreement for the project was signed between United Arab Emirates (UAE) based non-governmental organisation Red Crescent had signed an agreement and the Life Mission, sponsoring the project for Rs 20 crore, in 2019.

UV Jose was interrogated by the CBI earlier this month and also by the Enforcement Directorate.

Reacting to the court order, Congress MLA Anil Akkara, based on whose complaint CBI registered the case, said that he is satisfied with the court order. “I had anticipated the move. The court has not quashed the FIR. Also, there is no stay on the probe against Unitac Builders,” said Anil Akkara.

However, Minister for Law AK Balan termed the interim order as a vindication of the government stand that there was no FCRA violation on the part of the government and its agency. The government had challenged the probe and sought a direction to quash the FIR.

Apart from the alleged FCRA violation, there has been allegations of commission in the deal. Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the controversial gold smuggling case and a former employee of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, had allegedly received a commission from the firm to help it bag the contract. Rasheed Khasmi Ali Musaiqri, Consulate Charge d’Affairs of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, is also alleged to have received a huge commission for this (with inputs from News Minute)


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