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Kerala LIFE mission case: ED attaches assets worth over Rs 5 crore

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Friday said it has attached assets worth more than Rs 5 crore in connection with its ongoing money laundering probe into an alleged scam in Kerala’s LIFE Mission, which was meant for providing homes to flood victims.

The properties attached include residential premises in the name of Santhosh Eappen and immovable property and bank balances in the name of Swapna Suresh, the federal agency said in a statement.

The total value of these properties is Rs 5.38 crore, it said.

It alleged that a conspiracy was hatched by Sarith PS and Swapna Suresh, former employees of the UAE consulate, with ‘active support’ of M Sivasankar, a former principal secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, and Sandeep Nair and others.

This was done, the ED said, to “generate commission as bribe’ from the funds donated by Red Crescent by awarding the LIFE Mission project to Unitac Builders and Developers and Sane Ventures LLP run by Santhosh Eappen ‘without following transparency norms.”

From the funds received from the UAE Red Crescent for Life mission project, Santhosh Eappen arranged an upfront commission as bribe of Rs 4.40 crore for UAE consulate officials and some Kerala government officials by withdrawing money from the bank accounts of the companies of Santhosh Eappen, the ED claimed.

Out of this bribe money, the ED said, $1,90,000 was illegally sent abroad by Khaled Ahmed Ali Shoukry, former finance head of UAE Consulate, Trivandrum.

Sandeep Nair and Yedu Sundran were also found to be involved in money laundering by generating the proceeds of crime, it said.

TheLIFE(Livelihood Inclusion Financial Empowerment)Mission money laundering case stems from a CBI FIR and a Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau (VACB) complaint of the Kerala government against Unitac Builders and Developers Private Limited and Sane Ventures LLP for “suspected pecuniary advantage obtained by some persons from Life Mission Project and illegal gratification received by various persons including some public servants.”

(Published 20 October 2023, 17:37 IST)

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