The Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) on Friday, January 12, appointed a 3-member team to investigate into the affairs of the Cochin Minerals and Rutile Limited (CMRL), which has been under the scanner for making alleged illegal payments to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's daughter Veena as well as other political leaders in the state. The probe team will also investigate the affairs of Exalogic Solutions Pvt Ltd, the company owned by Veena and Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC), a state government entity, which has a 13.4% stake in CMRL.
The MCA has named Varun BS, Deputy Registrar of Companies, Bengaluru, KM Shanker Narayan, Deputy Director in the office of Chennai Regional Director and A Gokulnath, ROC, Puducherry as members of the investigation team.
The Union Government’s order on Friday stated that the ROC Ernakulam had conducted an investigation into the three companies based on a complaint, but the replies which they got from both the companies were not satisfactory. “It emerged that either replies furnished by CMRL are vague and evasive in nature, to the allegations or the reply is not furnished by KSIDC with respect to the notices issued by the ROC on the basis of the complaints”.
As a result of this, the Union Government based on the powers conferred under section 210 (1)(C) of the Companies Act, 2013, has decided that the affairs of CMRL and KSIDC are to be investigated.
The move comes after an Income Tax Interim Settlement Board (ISB) in August 2023, released a report stating that Veena and her company received Rs 1.72 crore over the last three years as monthly payments from the CMRL despite there being no evidence of any services given in return.
The I-T report stated that during their raid at the residence of Suresh Kumar, the CFO of CMRL, in 2019, they seized documents containing details of payments made to politicians, temples, government servants and media houses. Some of the names of the recipients were given in an abbreviated manner such as “PV”, “KK”, “IK” and “RC”, and is said to be abbreviations for Pinarayi Vijayan, IUML leader Kunhali Kutty, Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala and so on.
The ISB also alleged that CMRL had disbursed Rs 135 crore to political leaders and government officials after 2016.
In December 2023, the ROC had issued a show cause notice to CMRL and KSIDC, asking them to explain about the fund transfer to the politicians and others.