M Sivasankar, former principal secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, on Wednesday decided to withdraw from the High Court here his plea seeking interim bail in a case related to the alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act in the Life Mission project.
Sivasankar decided not to press his plea for interim relief on health grounds after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) opposed his request saying that his refusal to avail treatment in government medical colleges raises doubts regarding his claims of ill-health.
Representing the ED, Deputy Solicitor General S Manu also said that a special leave petition was pending in the Supreme Court against a Kerala High Court order declining to grant him bail, and in such a situation it would not be appropriate to consider his plea for interim relief.
After brief arguments, the lawyer representing Sivasankar sought permission to withdraw the plea for interim bail on health grounds.
“The counsel appearing for the petitioner (Sivasankar) would submit that this petition may be permitted to be withdrawn. Recording the submission, this Crl.MC stands dismissed as withdrawn,” the High Court said.
The court had in April this year denied him bail on the ground saying that he could tamper with evidence as he had influence with the ruling party and the CM.
Sivasankar was arrested on February 14 in connection with the alleged violation of FCRA in Life Mission, a flagship housing project of the Left government.
The project was conceived by the Kerala government to provide houses for the homeless in the state.
As part of the project, the construction of a housing complex at Wadakkanchery was to be undertaken using funds offered by the international humanitarian organisation Red Crescent.
The construction contract was awarded to Unitac Builders and Sane Ventures.
The two companies undertook the construction based on an agreement that they entered into with Red Crescent, which had agreed to provide Rs 20 crore towards the Wadakkanchery project of Life Mission.
It has been alleged that Unitac builders gave kickbacks to Sivasankar and the Consul General of the UAE to get the contract.
This came to light when former UAE Consulate employees Swapna Suresh and Sarith PS were arrested by the ED and Customs in another case related to the smuggling of gold into Kerala.
The CBI in 2020 filed an FIR in a Kochi court under Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code (punishment of criminal conspiracy) and Section 35 of FCRA on a complaint by the then Wadakkanchery MLA and Congress leader Anil Akkara, listing Unitac Builders’ Managing Director Santhosh Eappen as the first accused and the company Sane Ventures as the second accused.
The alleged FCRA violation and corruption in the project had snowballed into a major political issue at the time with opposition parties accusing Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the controversial gold smuggling case, of having admitted before an NIA court that she had received Rs 1 crore as commission for the project.
She had reportedly claimed that the money was meant for Sivasankar.