BJP’s AP Abdullakutty quizzed over alleged discrepancies in 2016 Kannur fort project

Abdullakutty, who was a Congress MLA in 2016, had proposed the development of the St Angelo Fort in Kannur. The project has now come under the VACB scanner.
AP Abdullakutty
AP Abdullakutty
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The Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau (VACB) in Kerala on Friday quizzed BJP national Vice President AP Abdullakutty at his residence at Pallikunnu in Kerala’s Kannur district. The VACB took the BJP leader’s statement as part of a project implemented in the district when he was Kannur MLA. The complaint pertains to the alleged discrepancies in a light and sound show held as part of a development project for St Angelo Fort at Kannur.

On Friday morning, officials of the Kannur unit of the VACB, headed by Deputy Superintendent of Police Babu Perigeth spent an hour at Abdullakutty’s house quizzing him over the project that was mooted by him. Though initially, reports stated that a raid was being conducted, later both Abdullakutty and VACB officials came out clarifying that it was not a raid. In 2016, when the UDF government was in power and Abdullakutty, who was with the Congress then, was Kannur MLA, he proposed a project to develop St Angelo Fort, popularly known as Kannur Fort. According to reports, though Rs 1 crore was allotted for this, no major development happened apart from the light and sound show. VACB  now alleges that there are discrepancies in the light and sound show that was held.

“We received information that there were discrepancies in the conduct of the light and sound show. Preliminary inquiry is going on. We came to take his (Abdullakutty) statement and this is not a raid. Since he was the MLA and he proposed the project, we are taking his statement,” a VACB official told the media. Abdullakkutty stated that though he had proposed the project and the government had included the project in the then budget, there was no further development. Alleging that major corruption has taken place, he claimed that it was the Tourism Department that was supposed to implement the project.

“Major looting has taken place, but my hands are clean. Though then CM Oommen Chandy inaugurated the project, it was not even implemented for two months..Those behind the scam should be brought out,” he alleged, claiming that his role was confined to the proposal.

Abdullakutty began his political career with the CPI(M) party and won twice from the Kannur Lok Sabha constituency, in 1999 and 2004. In 2009, he was ousted from CPI(M) after alleged differences in opinion and also because he had praised BJP’s policies in Gujarat. Expelled from CPI(M), he joined Congress that year and won the 2009 Kannur Assembly bye-election.

Abdullakutty later faced issues in the Congress, and in 2019, he was expelled from the party for praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Shortly after that, he joined the BJP and was made the Vice President of the party in Kerala. He had filed an application to contest the recently held Kerala Assembly Elections, but was unsuccesful, as his nomination was rejected.

Watch video of VACB's and Abdullakutty's reaction:

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