BJP leader moves Kerala HC against CM Vijayan’s daughter Veena’s alleged foreign bank accounts

He alleged her now-defunct company 'parked' huge sums in an account in Abu Dhabi and SNC Lavalin routed funds to the US through it.

BySouth First Desk

Published May 29, 2024 | 6:04 PMUpdatedMay 29, 2024 | 6:04 PM

Veena Vijayan

BJP leader Shone George filed an application in the Kerala High Court, alleging that Veena Thaikkandiyil’s — Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s daughter — now-defunct company Exalogic Solutions Private Limited “parked” huge sums in a foreign bank account.

He alleged that the account was in Abu Dhabi and that Canadian company SNC Lavalin routed funds to the US through it.

Vijayan is accused of being part of the alleged corruption in awarding a contract to Canadian firm SNC Lavalin when he was Kerala Power Minister in 1996, which had allegedly caused loss to the state exchequer.

Vijayan and two others were discharged in the case by a special court in Thiruvananthapuram in 2013, a verdict upheld by the Kerala High Court in 2017 when the CBI filed an appeal against the discharge.

The agency then filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the high court’s order and the matter is still pending before the apex court.

Meanwhile, Congress expressed shock over the allegations that Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s daughter holds a bank account in Abu Dhabi and sought his reaction to the charges.

The Opposition party termed the allegations as “serious” and urged the chief minister to make it clear whether his daughter’s now-defunct company held a bank account in the foreign country.

Also Read: Will continue fight against alleged corruption by CM, daughter: MLA Kuzhalnadan

The application

The application by Shone George, a lawyer and son of veteran politician PC George, has been moved as part of his plea in the high court seeking an investigation into Vijayan’s daughter Veena T’s company under the Companies Act and action against it by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO).

Later, the Union government told the high court that a probe under the Companies Act had been initiated and the SFIO was also looking into the matter.

In his application, George has claimed that according to “reliable information” received from a person working abroad, a huge trail of money “emanating from the transactions” under investigation by the SFIO “was parked by the culprits in an account maintained with the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank in the UAE in the name of Exalogic Consulting”.

He has further claimed that the said account “was operated by Veena T and one Suneesh M during the year 2016 to 2019 and huge funds from SNC Lavalin and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) were routed through the said account to various accounts maintained in banks in the USA”.

Also Read: Karnataka HC dismisses plea by Veena challenging SFIO probe

Congress questions CM

Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly VD Satheesan claimed that Veena and another person close to her family had a joint account in the foreign bank, and several prominent companies had transferred money to it.

Soon after the BJP leader levelled the charges, Satheesan asked Vijayan to make it clear whether such an account existed.

“Allegations that have been raised against CM Vijayan’s daughter and her company Exalogic are shocking. Does the CM’s daughter and a person connected to him have a joint account abroad? Has money come into this account? The CM should answer,” the LoP said.

Referring to the allegation, he said the money was deposited in this account by prominent companies like SNC Lavlin and PWC.

“The CM has the right to say whether this is correct (or not). If the allegation is false, legal action should be taken against those who made it,” he said.

Taking a dig at Vijayan, the Congress leader said the usual practice is to “hide in the den of silence” when the allegations are raised against him and his family.

He alleged that the CPI (M)-Sangh Parivar nexus was the reason for sabotaging the investigation against the Marxist party leaders in various cases.

Also Read: ED files money laundering case against Veena, her IT company

The SFIO probe

George had filed the plea seeking the SFIO probe into Veena’s firm Exalogic following the controversy which erupted in Kerala after a Malayalam daily reported last year that Kochi-based mining company CMRL had paid a total of ₹1.72 crore to the chief minister’s daughter between 2017 and 2020.

On 27 March, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed a money laundering case against Veena.

The sources said the case is registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and is expected to summon the people involved.

They said the case follows the cognisance of a complaint filed by the SFIO.

Also Read: Kerala HC refuses to stay probe against Veena’s firm

The controversy

The Malayala Manorama report cited an interim board’s ruling for settlement and said that CMRL previously had an agreement with Veena’s IT firm for consultancy and software support services.

It also alleged that although her firm rendered no service, the amount was paid monthly “due to her relationship with a prominent person”.

Veena has already been charged with committing financial fraud involving CMRL for over a year, with the Income Tax (I-T) Interim Settlement Board ruling that the private company paid Exalogic Solutions ₹1.72 crore between 2017 and 2020.

The agency observed that despite the money being accepted, no service was rendered to CMRL.

Meanwhile, sources in the MCA said it was an illegal transaction and that a probe would be conducted under a joint director at the Office of the Director General of Corporate Affairs in Bengaluru.

CMRL MD Kartha, in a sworn statement to the I-T Department, said, “Both these vendors (Veena and Exalogic) have not provided any work, services, software maintenance, consultancy, or any other form of service to our expectations to date. However, monthly payments are being made as per the agreements.”

Although the transactions were made through banks and such payments for business expenses were permissible, the board ruled that the transactions to Veena and Exalogic were “illegal” as no services were rendered.

Veena has also faced charges of financial misappropriation in the past. She was accused of accepting favours to protect the accused in the sensational diplomatic channel gold-smuggling case that rocked Kerala.

(With PTI inputs)