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Thomas Isaac gets relief from HC against ED summons

Thomas Isaac gets relief from HC against ED summons

Former Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac (file photo)

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Thursday said that former Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac need not appear before the Enforcement Directorate till next Wednesday. The court also remarked the agency should respect the privacy of the former minister.

Isaac moved the High Court in response to the two summons he received one after the other to appear before the ED.

However, ED informed the court that Isaac was not being summoned as an accused but as a witness for collection of evidence.

In the background is the ED's accusation that Former finance minister Thomas Isaac violated central government norms, including accepting foreign funds to raise capital for KIIFB (Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board) when he was the minister.

ED had served notice to Isaac to appear before it for questioning in the financial transaction case related to the state government-sponsored entity. However, Isaac and the CPM have taken the position that he need not answer before the ED.

The CPI-M leader had refused to appear before the ED on the earlier summons also. His petition before the HC seeks to quash both the summons.

In an email reply to the agency, Isaac had sought to know the nature of the offence he was charged with and said that he was not the owner of KIIFB or its documents, and personally his entire wealth was an open book.

As if to intensify the resistance against the ED, a group of MLAs from the CPIM, including former minister KK Shailaja and actor Mukesh also have approached the High Court arguing that the ED action would harm the development of the state in that such actions would dent the credibility of the organisation and make it difficult for it to source finances from domestic funding entities. The petition has been listed for hearing.

The former minister, and his party the he Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) have been taking the stand that the central agencies like the ED, CAG and the Income Tax department were targeting him to corner the current Left Democratic Front (LDF) government led by the CPI-M.

Satheesan speaks out against ED

Meanwhile, the matter has led to a collective resistance against the BJP government's use of central agencies, now in the form of ED, with Opposition leader VD Satheesan also going on the record that the ED has no right of jurisdiction to investigate the activities of KIIFB.

In a spectacle of joint move by the ruling side and the Opposition, though not very rare when it comes to the BJP regime at the Centre, Satheesan went whole hog against the use of central agencies against a state government undertaking, for which the Centre was using an agency that has no role in the alleged violations.

Satheesan said the ED has no authority to issue a notice to former finance minister. He said that KIIFB and Masla Bond will not come under the ED's jurisdiction. It can only step in where money laundering or financial crime cases are involved whereas here the allegation is that he went abroad and borrowed money at high interest, argued Satheesh.

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TAGS:Thomas IsaacKIIFBEDKerala High Court#Kerala GovernmentVD Satheesanmasala bond
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