The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday initiated a probe against KM Shaji, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) legislator from Azhikode, who is accused of accepting a bribe. The case pertains to allegations that KM Shaji took Rs 2.5 million for sanctioning courses in Azhikode High School, an aided school at his constituency in Kannur during 2013 and 14.
The probe is being headed by ED officials from the Kozhikode sub-zonal office. Notices have been issued to 30 people, including Shaji, to appear before the ED officials on November 10, reported Manorama. The ED is probing the source of money with regard to alleged financial deals while sanctioning Plus-2 batches for the school.
The investigation is based on a complaint filed by K Padmanabhan, a local CPI(M) village council president. The complaint was first filed with the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB).
The ED probe comes at a time when the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front in Kerala on Tuesday sought a comprehensive probe into the allegation raised by a former acting president of Kerala Bar Hotel Association that many UDF leaders had accepted bribes in 2015 to expedite the relicensing of more than 300 bars closed by the then Oommen Chandy government.
Biju Ramesh claimed that during the UDF governmentâ€™s tenure, bar owners had raised Rs 20 crore, of which some amount was allegedly given to the then health minister V S Sivakumar and to the KPCC office of Chennithala, to reduce the bar licence fees.
Shaji was earlier in the docks in 2016 for allegedly communalising the assembly election held in his constituency that year. He was disqualified as a legislator by the Kerala High Court in 2018, but the order was stayed by the Supreme Court, and the case is still ongoing.
Earlier in April, when the allegations surfaced, Shaji had told the media that he was being targeted by the CPI(M) government. He said that the VACB in 2017 had closed this case and that he was not even called by them for questioning. Shaji said that a case that was written off is being brought back again due to political vendetta. IUML was the second biggest ally of the previous Congress-led UDF government.