Kerala ruling LDF set to launch war against central agencies on November 16

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Finance Minister Thomas Issac has added CAG to the LDF armoury by accusing the constitutional body of trying to destroy its development vehicle

Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac added another ammunition into the armoury of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) by placing the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in the list of central agencies it has accused of trying to torpedo the government’s development programmes.

He launched the tirade against the constitutional body three days before the agitation proposed by the LDF against the central investigating agencies for their alleged interference in flagship projects of the government by accusing it of trying to destroy the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), a government agency for financing infrastructure projects in the state.

Isaac termed CAG "findings" in its draft report that KIIFB was raising loans "unconstitutionally" as part of the conspiracy against the development projects of the state by central agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Customs, National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which are investigating various scandals erupted in the last three years of the LDF government.

The allegation against CAG came at a time when the LDF was gearing up for a massive protest against the central investigating agencies on Monday, November 16. The LDF has planned to parade 25 lakhs people against these agencies across the state.

The organizers have added CAG in the list of agencies it is fighting after the finance minister came out against the constitutional body. Curiously, the LDF had announced the agitation against the investigating agencies saying that they were trying to play the role of the CAG. Now that Isaac has put CAG into the dock, the LDF has expanded its target.

The central investigating agencies came to Kerala following the recovery of 30 KGs of gold smuggled by a gang related to the UAE Consulate in the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram by the Customs. The investigation led to revelations that the gang had gained an access into various flagship programmes of the government and tried to get commission from them with the help of top functionaries in the chief minister’s office, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s former principal secretary M Sivasankar.

The LDF turned against the investigating agencies after the ED summoned CM’s additional private secretary C M Raveendran for interrogation and arrested Bineesh Kodiyeri, son of ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan in a drug smuggling case.

Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Bharatiya Janata Party said that the LDF had declared war against the central investigating after they feared that they will bring the chief minister himself into the ambit of the investigation.

They have viewed the Finance Minister’s tirade against CAG as a smart move to divert the attention of the people in the run up to the local body elections early December from the various scams rocking the government.

Leader of Opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala has also pointed out grave constitutional impropriety on the part of the finance minister in making public details of the CAG report before it was tabled in the assembly.

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