In the chargesheet filed by Kerala Police in Kodakara money heist case, BJP state President K Surendran and son Hari Krishnan and other party leaders are named witnesses.

Kodakara money heist Chargesheet alleges BJP funneled Rs 40 cr ahead of polls
news Kodakara Money Heist Monday, July 26, 2021 - 12:36

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the controversial Kodakara money heist cas has alleged that Rs 40 crore, supposedly hawala money, was distributed to Kerala BJP leaders ahead of the 2021 Assembly elections. SIT’s chargesheet, submitted to a Kerala court on July 23, details the alleged links to the BJP in the case. The Kodakara money heist case pertains to the highway robbery in Thrissur’s Kodakara on April 3, four days ahead of the 2021 Kerala Assembly elections on April 6.

On April 3, a man named Shamjeer Shamsudeen was transporting the cash from Thirussur to Kochi when his car was waylaid by three vehicles and looted the money. A few days after the robbery, Shamjeer and AK Dharmarajan, an RSS man who gave him the cash, filed a police complaint, stating that Rs 25 lakh, meant for a land deal, was looted from the car. However, the investigation revealed that the cash looted amounted to Rs 3.5 crore and not Rs 25 lakh as claimed. Dharmarajan, a contract distributor of Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation, had allegedly underreported the robbed money as the hawala money was being transported for the BJP’s election work.

In a statement to the police, Dharmarajan, who is one of the prime witnesses in the case, said the BJP state leaders assigned him to distribute the money in Kerala and that the state BJP president K Surendran was aware about the deal. Meanwhile, on Saturday, July 24, K Surendran (seventh witness in the case) said that the chargesheet is politically motivated and that BJP has no links with any hawala deal.

The case put Kerala BJP in a fix after Dharmarajan’s call records revealed he had contacted Surendran and other leaders on the day of the robbery. Although Surendran and other leaders were quizzed, more details about the alleged links and the past instances of transporting hawala money for the party have surfaced in the chargesheet. Dharmarajan’s statement given to police also details how he and his associates worked out the deals for BJP.

The hawala network 

As per the chargesheet filed in the Irinjalakuda Magistrate Court in Thrissur, allegedly a total of Rs 40 crore hawala money was distributed to BJP leaders in various Kerala districts between March 5 and April 5 this year. Of this, Rs 17 crore was collected from Bengaluru and Rs 23 crore from Kozhikode. According to Dharmarajan’s statement to police, the state BJP leaders assigned him and his associates with the task to “collect money” from settus (a colloquial term used to refer to merchant communities from states like Gujarat and Rajasthan) in Bengaluru and Kozhikode, and, in turn, transport and distribute them to the party’s district leaders in Kerala. Dharmarajan, who said that he has close ties with state and district leaders in the BJP, alleged that during the 2020 local body polls also, the party leaders had directed him to transport Rs 12 crore from Bengaluru. 

The alleged modus operandi

As per Dharmarajan’s statement, BJP state leaders used to contact him to coordinate and transport money from Bengaluru. He has named two witnesses in the case — M Ganesh, state Coordinating Secretary of the BJP (eighth witness) and Gireeshan Nair, state Office Secretary of the party (ninth witness) — as the point of contacts for the money deal.

“To bring BJP’s election fund from Bengaluru, Ganesh will contact me, asking me to coordinate it. Gireesh will later send me details such as whom to contact for the money and the date to transport it, via WhatsApp. As a token (for the deal), I use a Rs 10 note. I will take a photo of the note and send it to Gireesh. He will then send this (picture of Rs 10 note) to the Bengaluru party who will give the money. When I reach the fixed meeting point, either the person I assign or I should show this note to the Bengaluru party (as verification) and collect the money,” Dharmarajan said in the statement.

He further alleged the Bengaluru party will either give the money there or ask him or his associate to collect it from the settu or merchants in Kozhikode using the verified token. “The settus in Kozhikode have business in gold and black money, which comes from the Gulf,” Dharmarajan alleged.

What happened on April 3

On April 2, a day after attending K Surendran’s election campaign in Pathanamthitta’s Konni, Dharmarajan said he transported Rs 13.5 crore that he collected from the settus from Kozhikode to the Thrissur BJP office. Of this, Rs 6.3 crore, bundled in three sacks, was given to Thrissur BJP office, allegedly in the presence of party’s district leaders Sujay Senan and Prasanth. In the wee hours of April 3, Dharmarajan and his associates started from Thrissur with Rs 3.5 crore to transport it to BJP’s Alappuzha district office. However, along the way, the car driven by Shamjeer, Dharmarajan’s associate, was waylaid.

At 4.41 am, Shamjeer called Dharmarajan, informing him about the loot. Per Dharmarajan’s statement, he then called a series of party leaders — BJP leader Nagesh, K Surendran's driver Libeesh, Surendran's son Kannan (Hari Krishnan) and Sujay Senan, Sukumaran and Gopalakrishnan Kartha of Alappuzha BJP office. However, none answered the call at the time. “When K Surendran called back, I told him what happened. He then dropped the call saying he did not believe me,” Dharmarajan told the police. Dharmarajan also allegedly told police that he called K Surendran following the robbery since the latter was aware about the deal.

Why delay in filing complaint

Dharmarajan and Shamjeer filed a police complaint in the robbery only on April 7, four days days after the heist. In his statement, Dharmarajan said that the BJP leaders feared that if the hawala deals came out, technocrat E Sreedharan, who was the prime BJP candidate of the Assembly polls, and Jacob Thomas, retired IPS officer and party candidate from Irinjalakuda, might quit. 

Similar robbery in Salem

The investigation also revealed that Rs 4.40 crore, which was transported from Bengaluru allegedly for the BJP in Kerala, was robbed in Salem on March 6, 2021. Loktantrik Yuva Janata Dal (LYJD) National President Saleem Madavoor had filed a complaint with the Tamil Nadu police chief, stating that a car (KL 14 E 7474), suspected to have carried the hawala money, is on the premises of Konganapuram police station. However, no case was registered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Topic tags,
Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.