‘Political game’: Thomas Isaac defends KIIFB move to not obey ED summons

The Kerala Finance Minister said that a senior woman official of the KIIFB had a 'horrible experience' with the ED.
Thomas Isaac
Thomas Isaac
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Officials of the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) will not appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for the probe into ‘masala bonds’. Kerala's Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said in a post on Facebook that the KIIFB has officially informed the ED about it. The move comes as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) KM Abraham and Deputy Managing Director Vikramjit Singh were scheduled to appear before the ED on Friday morning.

“Let's see what they will do,” Thomas Isaac wrote, adding, "Earlier, the ED gang had summoned a senior official of KIIFB under the pretext of taking her statement. She had a horrible experience. The Chief Minister had mentioned this in last day's press meet. She has submitted proof of the experience before the KIIFB CEO. The government is thinking of moving legally against this."

The ED's probe concerns the KIIFB's borrowing through masala bonds and whether it has violated provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act. Masala bonds are bonds issued by an Indian entity in a foreign market in the rupee denomination and enables an entity to borrow from foreign investors. Earlier, a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) had criticised the borrowing through masala bonds by the Kerala government.

Thomas Isaac also alleged that the arrogance of 'ill treating' a woman official in the name of investigation comes with the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He said that unlike in several parts of north India where the BJP 'does as it pleases', Kerala will not have them get on the street with 'bombs and swords'.

Thomas Isaac said that the news of summoning the KIIFB officials first reached the media before it even reached the KIIFB office. "This political game has also been pointed out (to the ED). There is no clarity in any of the questions (sent by the ED). It is not clear for what reason the investigation is happening," he said.

The Supreme Court has instructed that reasons for sending a summons should be clearly stated, the minister pointed out. "Why bother about the Supreme Court when you are playing to the tunes of the BJP?" Thomas Isaac asked. He reiterated that officials of the KIIFB will not obey the ‘order of ED’ to appear before it on March 5.

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