The Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigation into Bineesh Kodiyeri on drug trafficking-related money laundering charges in Karnataka showed signs of extending to Kerala on Friday.
In a filing in the court of the Special Judge, Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), Banglore, the ED said it was pursuing the shadowy money trial in the case.
(The high-profile indictment of Bineesh, second son of Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, the State secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)], on Thursday had convulsed Kerala politics and arguably put the Left Democratic Front (LDF) on the defensive.)
The agency required to ‘unearth’ the illegal money routes and identify Bineesh’s benefactors in the country and abroad. It deemed Bineesh uncooperative during questioning and cagey about his source of wealth and investments.
The ED has frozen Bineesh’s known assets in Kerala. However, the agency required to verify reports that Bineesh had sunk his allegedly illegitimate earnings into real estate, cinema, hotel, plantation and forex businesses in Kerala.
The arrest of one Muhammad Anoop, a Kochi resident, on drug charges by the Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) in Bangalore in April had led to the arrest of Bineesh by the ED on Thursday.
The ED described Anoop as a ‘drug peddler.’ It said a massive infusion of funds into Bineesh’s accounts from questionable sources often preceded his periodic cash transfers to Anoop.
Bineesh could not explain the fund transfers and was ‘completely evasive in his replies.’ Investigators said Anoop was a front (Benamidar) for Bineesh. They said Anoop ‘indulged in the sale and purchase of narcotics’ and was ‘closely associated with Bineesh.’
Anoop reckoned Bineesh his ‘boss’ and did his employer’s bidding. The ED said Bineesh wielded ‘considerable power and influence.’ He could ‘scuttle the investigation and destroy evidence’ in the case.
Investigators said Bineesh held ‘many bank accounts.’ They accused him of committing the offence of money laundering by transferring/layering of vast proceeds of crime into various accounts.
The ED had kept the NCB in the loop. The agency was likely to examine Bineesh after November 2, when his time in ED custody ends.