Thiruvananthapuram: Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala on Friday demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, alleging that all that the latter said about the Life Mission project has been proved to be a lie.
The Centre has also entered the fray and asked the Kerala government to hand over all the files pertaining to the Life Mission project.
Speaking to the media here, Chennithala said whatever Vijayan said about the Life Mission project is in the public domain.
“Vijayan has said that the state government has no role in the housing project of Life Mission, conceived by UAE-based Red Crescent and executed by local company Unitac. Vijayan said all that the government did was to hand over the land and it has no other role. This is a big lie and everything which is in the public domain proves that Vijayan and his officials knew everything,” said Chennithala.
“If we now look into what happened in this project, the discussion first started when Vijayan went to the UAE and held talks with the Red Crescent officials there. Life Mission had informed Red Crescent that they had checked the project and proposal and Unitac was capable of doing this project. The MoU was signed here last year in the presence of Vijayan. The law department was given this file a few hours before it was inked. So everything is mysterious in this project. What’s baffling is that never in the history of any government in the state has a commission been paid for a housing project for the poor,” added Chennithala.
“The fact that not Rs 1 crore but Rs 4.25 crore was paid as commission in this housing project was revealed by John Britas, the media advisor of Vijayan. This was supported by Finance Minister Thomas Issac and also Law Minister A.K. Balan. What’s even more baffling is that the CEO of Life Mission U.V. Jose has now said there are no minutes of the meeting that was held to discuss this project. Everything is mysterious and hence a CBI probe has to be announced,” said Chennithala.
Vijayan’s pet project Life Mission is meant to build homes for the homeless and the landless. Vijayan has always praised his government’s initiative, but it came under a cloud when Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the gold smuggling case, was alleged to have received a huge commission for ensuring the participation of the Red Crescent organisation and channelised it through the UAE Consulate in Kerala, where she was employed earlier.
The image of the Vijayan government took a beating when the gold smuggling racket was unearthed after P.S. Sarith, a former employee of the UAE Consulate here, was arrested by the Customs Department on July 5 when he was facilitating smuggling of 30 kg of gold in the diplomatic baggage to Thiruvananthapuram from Dubai.
The matter turned murkier as Swapna Suresh’s links with senior IAS officer M. Sivasankar surfaced.
Sivasankar was subsequently removed from the posts of Principal Secretary to Vijayan and also as IT secretary and was then suspended from service.
“Now all ministers are trying to blame Sivasankar to allow Vijayan to escape,” said Chennithala.