Cornered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the 'Life Mission' case, the pet project of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the ruling CPI-M in Kerala has expressed its desire to see if the state, like West Bengal and a few other states, can decide to stop the premier probe agency from investigating cases in Kerala.
Speaking to the media here on Friday, state CPI-M Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said that former Congress President Rahul Gandhi during his recent three-day visit to his Lok Sabha constituency in Wayanad had said that the Centre was using national agencies to target its political rivals .
"I am saying what Rahul Gandhi has already pointed out. Maharashtra is also thinking on similar lines. While the CBI can probe certain cases, there is no need for a probe if the state police are capable of it," said Balakrishnan.
After the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government was rocked in July by the gold smuggling case, which led to the arrest of Swapna Suresh and later it was revealed that she was very close to the secretary to Vijayan, M. Sivasankar, the Chief Minister first removed him from the post and later suspended him from service.
At a time when various probe agencies was probing the gold smuggling case, Vijayan received another shock when it surfaced that Swapna Suresh played a key role in the Life Mission project (building homes for the homeless with the help of sponsors on government land) in Thrissur, where she was paid a huge commission by the builder for the funds that came from a UAE-based charity organisation, Red Crescent.
Local Congress legislator Anil Akkara, in whose constituency this project was coming up, wrote to the CBI and soon it decided to take up the probe. By now, the agency has questioned a number of state government officials, leaving Vijayan and the CPI-M red faced.
Incidentally, Balakrishnan's younger son Bineesh Kodiyeri has been questioned twice by the Enforcement Directorate in a case which is believed to have 'links' with the gold smuggling case.
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