The house of Bineesh Kodiyeri – son of the state secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Kodiyeri Balakrishnan – and seven other spots in Thiruvananthapuram were raided on Wednesday by the Enforcement Directorate probing the money laundering case related to Bengaluru drug haul even as the state government withdrew general consent given to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
A joint team of ED and Income Tax searched the house of Kodiyeri and business establishments of his friends and partners simultaneously. The central agencies were given the Central Reserve Police Force protection. There were intelligence reports that left youth outfits may protest against the raid.
Arrested on October 29, Kodiyeri is under the ED custody in Bengaluru. He landed in trouble after the Bengaluru drug racket accused Anoop Mohammad gave a statement to the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), saying that Kodiyeri had helped him a lot in his “business venture”. Later his name also figured in the call list of Mohammad. He was arraigned as the sixth accused in the money laundering case connected to drug haul.
During investigation in the gold smuggling case, multiple agencies also found that drug and smuggling cases were interconnected. One of the accused in gold smuggling KT Ramees and alleged drug peddler Mohammad were thick friends. They also found that Ramees had made several trips to Bengaluru before his arrest. The ED suspects that huge properties owned by Kodiyeri in Kerala and Karnataka might have been bought with the proceeds of narcotics and gold smuggling.
Meanwhile, the government has decided to withdraw the general consent given to the CBI to investigate cases in the state like four other opposition-ruled states.
“We will not allow free run of central agencies in the state. They are in a race to portray the state government in bad light,” said state law minister AK Balan.
Last month, the state government had to rush to the High Court to quash the CBI probe into the Life Mission project. The court stayed it for two months. It is a scheme to build free dwelling units for the homeless, but irregularities came to light when central agencies were probing the gold smuggling case.
When lockers of the main accused in the smuggling case, Swapna Suresh, were opened they got Rs one crore cash and two kg gold. Later she reportedly told agencies that this was the commission she received for clinching a deal with an international aid agency ‘Red Crescent’, which funded the Life Mission project in Vadakkanchery in the Thrissur district.
The anti-corruption unit of the CBI later registered a case under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). But the state government maintained that it will not come under the purview of the FCRA and moved the court.