Relief for CPI-M candidate Thomas Isaac as Kerala HC asks ED to give him time

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday made it clear that it would be unfair to force Thomas Isaac, a CPI(M) candidate contesting the Lok Sabha polls, to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) when elections are round the corner.

Incidentally, the ED has by now served six notices to Isaac to appear before them for questioning in a case relating to the issue of the masala bond by the first Pinarayi Vijayan government (2016-21) when Isaac was the State Finance Minister.

Both Isaac and officials of Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) challenged the summons issued to them in the case.

Making its position clear, the High Court on Tuesday said, “The counsel appearing for ED had made available some material to show that there are transactions relating to the end use of the funds received which needs explanation. I have gone through it but I do not feel that this is the right stage for me to disclose the information given to me. However, I find that some transactions require explanation and it can be done at a later stage especially since the elections are due. The petitioner (Isaac) is a candidate and I do not think it is proper for a candidate who is facing an election for representation to parliament to be disturbed at this stage when elections are due,” the Court said in its order, posting the matter to May 22 after the summer break.

The case pertains to allegations that the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) was violated in the issuance of masala bonds by KIIFB.

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Masala bonds are rupee-denominated bonds issued outside India by Indian entities.

Isaac, former State Finance Minister is pitted against sitting Congress MP Anto Antony and Anil Antony, son of former Defence Minister and CWC member A.K. Antony at the Pathanamthitta Lok Sabha constituency. (IANS)

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