On January 24, 2011, it was Teena who found her husband V Saseendran, and their two sons Vyas and Vivek hanging in the house. Though the wife shrieked to the media that death of the former management executive of Malabar Cements Limited in Palakkad was murder, it took some time for the company to run into trouble.
Four years after the incident, media reports have put former CPI (M) minister Elamaram Kareem as one of the ministers who played a role in the intricate web of corruption in MCL.
Saseendran was a whistle blower. In 2007, the Comptroller and Auditor General unearthed a scam of Rs 400 crore in Malabar Cements, Saseendran was the prime witness. Two years later, he wrote to the Chief Minister and Vigilance department head, imforming them about the coruption in the fully owned government undertaking. Following intomidation he had resigned and just two days after a chargesheet was filed in the case, Saseendran was dead.
Picture courtesy- Dool News
The initial theory of the possibility of suicide was soon over ruled as post-mortem report revealed eight bruises on Saseendran’s body. Soon, an FIR named the firm's managing director Sundara Moorthy, his secretary Sooryanarayanan and VM Radhakrishnan, a private contractor with MCL.
After investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which spanned over three years, that saw delay in filing chargesheet and accusations against the investigating agency, the CBI filed a chargesheet in September 2014, before the Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, stating the case to be that of suicide. But the chargesheet filed also said that VM Radhakrishnan was guilty of abetting suicide and criminal intimidation.
The charge sheet said Radhakrishnan, on January 4, 2011, threatened Saseendran saying he would make it impossible for Saseendran to find work anywhere in the State. Then Managing Director Sundara Moorthy and his secretary Sooryanarayanan, who allegedly assisted Radhakrishnan in harassing Saseendran, which is believed to have triggered the suicide, had also turned approvers in the case.
In September 2010, he had written to the then Chief Minister VS Achuthananthan, the Industries Minister Elamaram Kareem and the Vigilance Director about the rampant corruption in the loss-making company. He alleged that the managing director’s secretary P Suryanarayanan was leaking vital company information outside. However, five days later, he wrote to them again, ‘regretting’ that he had raised such allegations. Then came the resignation, a month later.
CPIM in trouble
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) in the state seems to have gotten into trouble after a secret statement by former MD Sundara Moorthy has come out in public. His statement to a magistrate in Ernakulam in 2013, reveals that former Industries Minister Elamaram Kareem received bribe from Radhakrishnan, when the former visited MCL in 2010.
This comes as a major blow to the CPIM, which has been staging protests demanding that corrupt ministers in the UDF government must step down. The Congress in Kerala is asking whether Kareem was also one of those who threatened Saseendran at various stages. Kareem was quick to deny the allegations, saying that it comes from the prime accused in the case and therefore does not stand credible. He further accused that the allegations are part of the UDF government’s game plan to come clean of the corruption charges that the government is currently facing.
Mere denial of the allegations might not be enough for the CPIM to come out with a clean chit. Earlier reports suggest Radhakrishnan’s relationship with the leaders in the official faction of the CPI (M). The CPM government had retained Radhakrishnan as the contractor for the firm, even after corruption cases came up during the earlier Congress –led government.
However, opposition leader VS Achuthanandan has said that the allegations against Kareen should be investigated.