In a move that could trigger an intense political debate in the State, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has extended its probe to the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), the flagship infrastructure funding and development arm of the State government.
The timing of the probe attains significance as the State is all set for the Assembly polls and the State government trying to impress the voters by showcasing the infrastructure development projects it carried out using the funds mobilised by KIIFB.
While the ED has asked the senior officials of Axis Bank, the key banker of the project, to appear for interrogation on Wednesday, it has asked K. M. Abraham, the CEO of the Board to be present at its Kochi office on March 5. The Deputy CEO has been summoned to appear on March 4 for interrogation, according to sources.
Primarily, the agency is probing the violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act in the financial transactions involving the board. The agency may probe more angles of the financial deals as the investigation progresses, sources indicated.
The Chief Minister is the chairman of the Board and the Finance Minister its Vice Chairman. The Chief Secretary, the Vice-Chairman of the State Planning Board, the secretaries of Law, Finance and Finance Resources are its members. There are also seven independent members on the board.
The ED has also been probing the LIFE Mission, the mass housing project of the State government, project at Wadakkancherry.
It had also booked a case against M. Sivasankar, the former Principal Secretary to the Kerala Chief Minister, by invoking the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The agency contended that the former top bureaucrat, in connivance with the accused in the diplomatic channel gold smuggling case, had laundered the proceeds of gold smuggling.