news Monday, January 05, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | November 11, 2014 | 5.00 pm IST T. O Sooraj, senior IAS officer and present Kerala public works secretary, had been in controversy since May 2003 with allegations about his involvement in the Marad massacre, followed by a Hindu Muslim riot at the Marad beach of the Kozhikode district, Kerala. He was District collector of Kozhikode during the time of riots. Later his name was also mentioned in some prominent land grabbing cases too. Now he is back in to the headlines with a disproportionate assets case. The Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau (VACB) special cell on Wednesday had conducted raids at his residences and reportedly seized details relating to unaccounted assets worth Rs 30 crores along with currency of around Rs 20 lakh from the officer’s house, this in spite of his declared wealth being Rs 7.3 crores. The officer claims the monet was kept aside for a wedding in the family. Sooraj had purchased seven luxury apartments in Coimbatore and Kochi and many of his properties have not been declared to the government. It is also reported that he has a luxury flat in Dubai worth Rupees 5 core. It is also believed that Sooraj was involved in many benami transactions in Idappally and Vyttilla. Vigilance officials will in the coming days examine in detail Sooraj's known sources of income and also look into the list of assets that he has filed with the state government. They will then submit their report to the Thrissur vigilance court. As per recent media reports, though the Vigilance had frozen his bank accounts he had withdrawn the complete amount from a bank prior to the freeze. According to a report in Indiavision, Sooraj had withdrawn the complete money from his account in Indian Bank Vytilla branch, Ernakulam on Thursday. The vigilance order to freeze his accounts was released on Friday morning. Sources told The News Minute that Kerala Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala has a special interest to move against Sooraj and is personally involved in the case. Sooraj who has always been identified as a Muslim League man and Chennithala's decision to go behind Sooraj all guns blazing has a political angle too. Suppressing the Muslim League by going behind a man close to them, seems to be Chennithala's way of keeping the biggest ally under control. With the Home Minister calling the shots, Muslim League ministers have withdrawn their tacit support for the bureaucrat. Sooraj’s department minister Ibrahim Kunju , who is also from League, had urged for a probe in to the issue. 

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