Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Wednesday gave his nod to prosecute former Public Works Department Minister and Indian Union Muslim League leader (IUML) Ebrahim Kunju in the Palarivattom flyover scam case. Permission to prosecute the former minister was given after the Governorâ€™s office asked the investigating officers of the Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau (VACB) to submit the documents related to the evidence against Ebrahim Kunju. The documents were then submitted to Raj Bhavan.
Palarivattom flyover in Kochi, constructed at a cost of Rs 48 crore in 2016, has been shut since May last year after major structural damages were found. The flyoverâ€™s construction began during the UDF regime under the PWD, which was headed by Ebrahim Kunju as its minister.
According to VACB, the first accused in the case, contractor Sumeet Goyal, misappropriated the â€˜mobilisation advanceâ€™ fund amount of Rs 8.25 crore to meet a personal financial crisis and then later compromised on the quality of the construction. It was in November 2019 that the Kerala High Court asked the VACB, which is investigating the Palarivattom flyover scam, to probe the involvement of Ebrahim Kunju in the fiasco.
According to reports, as per a recent Supreme Court order, the Governorâ€™s permission is needed to proceed with an investigation against ministers or former ministers. The VACB had in October 2019 got permission from the government to take up legal proceedings against the former minister but was waiting for the Kerala Governorâ€™s nod for the last three months. It is after taking the legal advice of the Advocate General that the Governor has now given his nod to prosecute Ebrahim Kunju.
Sumeet Goyal, managing director of RDS Projects Ltd, the construction company; MT Thankachan, former assistant general manager of Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala Ltd. (RBDCK), a subsidiary of Kerala PWD; Benny Paul, joint general manager of KITCO; and former PWD secretary Soorej TO; were arrested by VACB in the case, but are now out on bail.
(With inputs from ANI)