Sex scandal set to disturb Kerala CPM’s peace

via V R JAYARAJ - Daily Pioneer published on October 16, 2011

The infamous ice cream parlour sex scandal, in which Congress ally PK Kunhalikutty is allegedly involved, is set to mar the peace of the neo-liberalist official leadership of Kerala CPI(M) during its State conference to be held in February prior to April’s 20th party Congress at Kozhikode with revelations on alleged unholy connections of some of the reformists.

The immediate reason for the neo-liberalists’ worry is Saturday’s questioning by the police of senior lawyer and former Advocate General MK Damodaran, counsel for their leader and State party secretary Pinarayi Vijayan in the SNC Lavalin corruption case in which he is seventh accused, in connection with the ice cream parlour sex scandal.

Kerala Police’s special investigation team probing the scandal questioned Damodaran, known as a close associate of the neo-liberalists, based on the statements made by businessman KA Rauf that the former AG had provided legal advice to the 2006-11 LDF government to spare Kunhalikutty from the case after accepting bribe from him.

Rauf, a close relative of Industries Minister Kunhalikutty, had told the court and the police that P Sasi, former CPI(M)’s Kannur district secretary expelled from the party for proven immoral behaviour, had liaised with Damodaran to save Kunhalikutty in the ice cream parlour case sex abuse case. Sasi was political secretary to then chief minister (late) EK Nayanar.

Kallada Sukumaran, Director General of Prosecutions during the tenure of the Nayanar government, on Sunday caused more damage to neo-liberalists and Damodaran by saying that he was responsible for giving advice to the then government on the case favouring Kunhalikutty. Sukumaran also said that Damodaran could have done that at the insistence of Sasi.

Rauf had told the police and the court that he himself had deposited in the bank Rs 32.5 lakh for Kunhalikutty in the name of Damodaran’s wife for repaying a Rs 75-lakh loan her company Malabar Aquatech had taken. He said this payment was made as bribe for advising the Nayanar Government to spare Kunhalikutty from the case.

During the questioning and after that while speaking to the media, Damodaran denied Rauf’s allegation. “I don’t have to accept bribe to repay my wife’s loans. Also, it is disgusting that someone is dragging my wife’s name into a case like this. But Rauf said, “I stand by my allegation. I had deposited that money in the bank myself.”

Observers say that the Rauf’s allegations, Damodaran’s urgent denials, Sukumaran’s disclosures, charges against Sasi, his connections of Sasi and Pinarayi with Damodaran and the dumping of the case against Kunhalikutty during Nayanar’s tenure would all come up for discussions at the CPI(M) State conference as evidences of the unholy connections of the neo-liberalists.

“Everybody knows about the kind of relations that had existed between Pinarayi and Sasi,” said a senior journalist. “If Sasi had made Damodaran to favour Kunhalikutty in the report on the ice cream parlour case, suspicions about Vijayan’s interests are normal. The CPI(M) hardliners are sure to use this as a weapon against the neo-liberalists,” he said.

Damodaran said on Sunday that the decision to spare Kunhalikutty was not his alone but it was taken at the level of the top leadership, including Nayanar, then CPI(M) secretary Chadayan Govindan and then LDF convener VS Achuthanandan, presently Opposition leader and Pinarayi’s arch rival in the party.

The High Court which is monitoring the probe into the sex scandal has asked the SIT to submit its report in December. As the State conference of the party is taking place after this, the report is sure to come up in it and the hardliners will be using it against the neo-liberalists. The same issue had come up prominently in the 2005 conference at Malappuram.

Kunhalikutty, the de facto supremo of the Muslim League, is charged with sexually abusing Rejina, based at an ice cream parlour in Kozhikode, when she was a minor back in 1996. He had resigned as Industries minister in 2004 after she had raised the allegation against him through television programmes.

At the same time, reports said that the file containing the legal advice Kallada Sukumaran had given to the then government 11 years ago, which recommended implication of Kunhalikutty in the case, was missing. That the file was not with the Government now was revealed in response to an application under the RTI Act.

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