Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has accused the Enforcement Directorate (ED) of violating the Model Code of Conduct after ED summoned Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) officials in the masala bonds case.
“The Enforcement Directorate has recently been repeatedly calling officials of the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), a body corporate fully owned by the Government of Kerala. Some of the officials who have been called, including ladies, have been subjected to intemperate behaviour by the officials of the ED, Kochi unit. The stated subject matter under investigation is the issue of rupee designated Masala bonds by KIIFB in May 2019. The issue is neither one of recent occurrence nor one of urgent nature,” the letter to the EC read.
In his letter, CM alleges that the Enforcement Directorate summoned KIIFB officials to create a ‘smear campaign’ ahead of the Assembly poll and serves the political interest of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The Chief Minister has sought the intervention of the Election Commission on investigating agencies violating the model code of conduct.
Nirmala Sitharaman’s remark on February 28 during a BJP Yatra is evidence of the political use of investigative agencies, the letter said.
Union Finance Minister Sitharaman has accused the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government of releasing all the budget allotment to KIIFB. While Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac claims said that there was no violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) in an alleged case of external borrowings of KIIFB through Masala Bonds.
“There is absolutely no violation of FEMA as we have received No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Reserve Bank of India (RBI),” said Thomas Isaac while speaking to ANI on Wednesday (March 3).
Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a case against KIIFB for external borrowings through Masala Bonds without the permission of the union government.
On March 3, ED sent a notice to KM Abraham, CEO of KIIFB and asked him to appear before its Kochi office on March 5. It had also sent a notice to Deputy Managing Director Vikramjit Singh and asked him to appear before it on March 4.
KIIFB was constituted by the state government as a corporate body in 1999. In November 2020, ED had initiated an investigation into the Masala bonds of the KIIFB.
(With inputs from ANI)