SFIO probe: Congress, BJP in Kerala welcomes Karnataka HC dismissing plea by Veena Vijayan’s firm

It has been alleged that a Kochi-based firm, CMRL had paid ₹1.72 crore to the chief minister's daughter and her company between 2017 and 2020, though no service was provided.


Published Feb 17, 2024 | 9:16 AMUpdatedFeb 17, 2024 | 9:16 AM

Veena Vijayan with husband PA Muhammad Riyas

The Congress and the BJP in Kerala welcomed the Karnataka High Court dismissing a petition filed by Exalogic Solutions, in which Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s daughter Veena T is a director, on Friday, 16 February.

The company had challenged the investigation into its affairs by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO).

The Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs had asked the SFIO to investigate the company, which the firm had challenged in the high court.

Justice M Nagaprasanna dismissed the petition.

While the Congress leaders claimed that the firm had moved the high court as Vijayan was afraid of the investigation, the BJP said the order proved that even the court was not convinced that the probe was politically motivated as claimed by the ruling CPI(M) in the state.

Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said that the high court was not convinced by the arguments that the SFIO probe was politically motivated.

Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who, too, welcomed the court order, said an investigation was justified as the “so-called” software firm (Exalogic) had allegedly received hundreds of crores of rupees from companies without providing any service.

“I welcome the decision of Karnataka High Court to allow this investigation…into sitting CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s daughter’s company receiving mysterious payments without delivering any service,” he said.

Related: Kerala HC refuses to stay probe against CM Vijayan’s daughter Veena’s firm.

‘CM, daughter afraid of SFIO probe’

Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly VD Satheesan said the plea in the high court indicated that the chief minister and his daughter were afraid of the SFIO probe. “It also shows that his (CM’s) hands are not clean,” the senior Congress leader said.

Congress MLA Mathew Kuzhalnadan, who was the first to raise allegations of financial irregularities against Veena’s firm, said the court order was not unexpected.

He too said the order indicates that the probe was not politically motivated as claimed by the CPI(M) and questioned whether, in the face of the latest development, the Left party was willing to withdraw from its stand that there has been a political witch hunt against the chief minister.

Welcoming the court order, Satheesan questioned why the probe duration had been fixed at eight months.

“We are not entirely convinced by the SFIO probe as the duration for it has been fixed at eight months. Why is that much time required to go through the documents? Anyways, we will wait and see,” he said.

Earlier this month, the Kerala High Court had declined to stay the SFIO probe into state-run KSIDC, Exalogic, and Kochi-based mines company, CMRL.

The order had come on a plea moved by KSIDC seeking to quash the central government order directing an investigation by SFIO under the Companies Act into the affairs of KSIDC.

Related: Mathew Kuzhalnadan, the MLA who has got under the skin of CM

The case

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs ordered an SFIO probe against Cochin Minerals and Rutile Ltd (CMRL) and Exalogic Solutions Pvt Ltd.

A controversy erupted in Kerala after a Malayalam daily reported last year that CMRL had paid a total of ₹1.72 crore to the chief minister’s daughter between 2017 and 2020.

The news report cited the ruling of an interim board 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 though no service was rendered by her firm, the amount was paid monthly “due to her relationship with a prominent person”.

The report also cited findings by the Registrar of Companies (ROC) against her firm.

Quoting the ROC report, the Congress-led UDF opposition had claimed that offences of receiving money using false documents and without providing services had been committed by Veena’s firm.

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