A special court here on Monday extended by four more days the ED custody of M Sivasankar, the former principal secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in connection with the alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulations) Act in the Life Mission, a flagship housing project of the Left government.
Sivasankar, who was taken into custody on February 14 by the central agency, was sent to ED custody on Wednesday.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) sought more time for conducting a thorough probe into Sivasankar’s role in the case.
The agency claimed before the court that his complicity in the case was more evident.
Meanwhile, the ED informed the court that all necessary medical assistance was being provided to Sivasankar who had complained of health issues before the court.
The PMLA court granted four-day custody to ED and asked the agency to produce him on February 25.
The ED had on February 18, interrogated U V Jose — the former CEO of Life Mission project — in connection with its inquiry.
On Thursday, the agency had interrogated the chartered accountant who was allegedly associated with Sivasankar in connection with the case.
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The CA had allegedly helped Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the gold smuggling through diplomatic channel case, to open a bank locker to keep the commission received from the project.
The CBI had in 2020 filed an FIR in a Kochi court under Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code and Section 35 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) 2010 on a complaint by the then Wadakkanchery Congress MLA Anil Akkara listing Santosh Eappen, Managing Director of Unitac Builder, Kochi as the first accused and Sane Ventures as the second accused.
The two companies had undertaken the construction based on the agreement entered with them by Red Crescent, an international humanitarian movement, which had agreed to provide Rs 20 crore towards the Life Mission project.
The Congress has been alleging that there was corruption involved in the selection of the contractor by Red Crescent.
The alleged FCRA violation and corruption in the project had snowballed into a major political issue at that time with opposition parties charging that Suresh had admitted before an NIA court that she had received Rs 1 crore as commission from the project. She had reportedly claimed that the money was meant for Sivasankar.
However, the Life Mission CEO had submitted before the court that Unitac and Sane Ventures had undertaken the construction based on the agreement entered into with them by Red Crescent and had directly accepted foreign contributions from Red Crescent, which is a foreign agency.
The CEO has also contended that the companies which signed an agreement with the Red Crescent do not come under the categories of persons prohibited from receiving any foreign contribution as per Section 3 of FCRA.