High drama ensued outside Kerala CPI(M) State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s son Bineesh’s house in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday morning. As sleuths from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) Bengaluru unit searched the house for the second day in a row, his family alleged that senior officers of the EC forced them to sign documents which they had never seen before. Bineesh was arrested last week by the ED in connection with the Bengaluru drug racket case.
Speaking to the media, Bineesh’s wife Renita said, “We were not allowed to use our phones. We were not allowed to call our lawyers. Six officers of the ED and CRPF guards entered our house. The ED sleuths immediately searched our bedroom on the first floor. They could not find anything. Finally, they seized my mother’s iPhone.”
Renita also alleged that senior officers produced a card and forced her to sign on it. However, she refused to do so. “The card had Mohammad Anoop’s name on it. I was sure that they did not find the document from here. So I told them that I will not sign it. They threatened me that Bineesh would remain in jail if did not sign it. They also asked me if I would sign it if Bineesh told me to. I said that I will not sign anything that was not found in the house,” Renita told the media. Mohammad Anoop is the drug peddler in the Bengaluru racket case who is accused of having close links with Bineesh.
Meanwhile, close relatives of the family sat in protest outside the house, demanding permission to meet the family. The group of relatives, including two women, wanted to be allowed inside the house and meet the family, who have not stepped out since Wednesday morning when the raid began.
A woman, claiming to be the sister of Kodiyeri Balakrishnan's wife, told the media that their only request was that one of them be allowed to meet the family. "We've been sending them food and it's now beyond 24 hours since the raid began. We want to know if the food is being eaten by our relatives or is it being consumed by the ED team. We will not go from here until our request is met," she said. Inside the house are Renita, her three-year-old child and her parents.
Following the commotion, top Kerala police officials arrived at the spot and after talks with the ED officials, they came and told the protesting relatives that those inside the house said 'they do not wish to see anyone'.
The raid had continued through the night and the house had been strictly manned by the CRPF and also a few Karnataka police officials.
The protesters said: "We don't believe what the Kerala Police just conveyed. This is just a cooked up story. We know she (Bineesh's wife) will never say that. We want one of us to be sent inside the house."
While the ED ended its raids at five other places connected with Bineesh Kodiyeri's business interests on Wednesday night, it continued its operation inside his house. However, at the time of the raid, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was not present in the house.
The officials said the raids were a follow-up on the information that they got from Bineesh, who has been in their custody since October 29. Bineesh was arrested under the charges of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. He is in their custody till Saturday when he will be produced in the court at Bengaluru.