The court also rejected the CBI counsel’s argument that Life Mission would fall under the categories under the FCRA rule, which is prohibited from accepting foreign funds.

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan smiling
news Court Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 16:29

In a notable observation, the Kerala High Court has said that Life Mission, the housing project for the poor by the LDF government, has not received any foreign funds directly from the Red Crescent. The Kerala High Court made the observation on Tuesday while considering the plea filed by UV Jose, CEO of Life Mission, against the charge made by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the alleged discrepancies in an ongoing project of Life Mission in Thrissur’s Wadakanchery.

The HC’s remark has come as a breather to the state government which has been in a tough spot after allegations of discrepancies were raised on its ambitious housing project for landless and homeless people of the state.

The CBI is probing the alleged violation of Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) by the builders of Life Mission project in Wadakanchery and ‘unknown officials’ of Life Mission, in accepting nearly Rs 20 crore from UAE based humanitarian organisation Red Crescent which sponsored the project.

Assessing the arguments laid out by the CBI counsel, counsel for Life Mission and the accused builder in the case, the court observed that, “undisputedly Life Mission has not received any foreign contribution directly from the sponsor”.

The court also rejected the CBI counsel’s argument that Life Mission would fall under the categories under the FCRA rule, which is prohibited from accepting foreign funds.

“The contention that Life Mission would fall under section 3 (1) (c) (of FCRA -- Public servant, judge, government servant or employee of any corporation or any other body controlled or owned by the government) is liable to be rejected on a plain reading of section and by applying the ‘ejusdem generis’ rule.  Hence Life Mission or the builders do not fall under any of the categories enumerated in the section 3(1),” said the HC.

Making the remark, the High Court on Tuesday stayed any further proceedings against UV Jose, CEO of Life Mission, who is a ‘probable accused’ in the case for two months.

Read: Kerala HC orders interim stay on CBI probe against Life Mission project case

Meanwhile, the court rejected the plea filed by first accused in the case Santhosh Eappen, managing director of Unitac Builders and Sane Ventures LLP, builders of the project at Wadakanchery, stating that there is no need of an interference of the court at this stage.

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