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Kerala HC To Consider Bail Application Of M Sivasankar In Life Mission Case On Monday

Justice A Badharudeen said the court will hear the matter on March 27 after the ED informed it that the Additional Solicitor General will appear before it online on Monday.

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Kerala High Court
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The Kerala High Court will consider on Monday the bail application of M Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with alleged financial irregularities in implementing a flagship housing project of the state government.

Justice A Badharudeen said the court will hear the matter on March 27 after the ED informed it that the Additional Solicitor General will appear before it online on Monday.

Sivasankar, who was arrested on February 14, is currently in judicial custody till April 4.

The Life Mission project was conceived by the Kerala government to provide houses for the homeless in the state. As part of the project, the construction of a housing complex at Wadakkancherry was to be undertaken using funds offered by the international humanitarian organisation Red Crescent. The contract for the construction was awarded to Unitac Builders and Sane Ventures. 

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The two companies undertook the construction based on an agreement that they entered into with Red Crescent, which had agreed to provide Rs 20 crore towards the Wadakkancherry project of Life Mission.

It has been alleged that Unitac builders gave kickbacks to Sivasankar and the Consul General of the UAE to get awarded the construction contract. This came to light when former UAE Consulate employees Swapna Suresh and Sarith PS were arrested by the ED and Customs in another case, which was related to the smuggling of gold into Kerala

The CBI in 2020 filed an FIR in a Kochi court under Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code (punishment of criminal conspiracy) and Section 35 of FCRA on a complaint by the then Wadakkanchery MLA and Congress leader Anil Akkara, listing Unitac Builders Managing Director Santhosh Eappen as the first accused and the company Sane Ventures as the second accused.

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The Congress party has been alleging that there was corruption involved in the selection of the contractor by Red Crescent.

The alleged FCRA violation and corruption in the project had snowballed into a major political issue at the time with opposition parties accusing Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the controversial gold smuggling case, of having admitted before an NIA court that she had received Rs 1 crore as commission for the project. She had reportedly claimed that the money was meant for Sivasankar. 

However, the then Life Mission CEO U V Jose had submitted before the court that Unitac and Sane Ventures had undertaken the construction based on their agreement with Red Crescent and had directly accepted foreign contributions from the foreign agency. 

The CEO had also contended that companies that signed an agreement with the Red Crescent do not come under the categories of persons prohibited from receiving any foreign contribution as per Section 3 of FCRA.

-With PTI Input

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