• Saturday, 16 February 2019

Kerala Minister defends beleaguered CPI-M secretary

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 8 : Kerala Minister Kadakampally Surendran on Thursday defended CPI-M state Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, whose two sons have been caught in alleged financial frauds in Dubai, as hectic parleys are on to settle the financial deals.

With the upcoming Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) state conference to be chaired by Balakrishnan, state Tourism and Devaswoms Minister Surendran said he has done no wrong or misled anyone.

Balakrishnan's two sons Binoy and Bineesh -- both of whom have business interests in Dubai -- owe money to various people in the United Arab Emirates and here, and it was recently revealed that Binoy, who is in the UAE, has been barred from travelling out of the country.

"When we met the last time there was no case or any travel ban on Binoy and that was what Balakrishnan said then," Surendran told the media here.

"The issue currently is what happens between businessmen and there has been no misuse of anything by anyone."

The state CPI-M at its leadership meeting here on January 25 also gave a clean chit to Balakrishnan and dismissed this as a business issue, saying that neither the party nor he have anything to do with it.

Trouble started for Binoy and Balakrishnan when a three-page letter dated January 5 from H.I.A. Al Marzooqi, sponsor of a Dubai-based company, was made available to the media last month. It stated that he had started legal proceedings against Binoy for alleged fraud of Rs 13 crore.

But after Marzooqi filed a petition against Binoy in order to get his money, a travel ban was issued on the CPI-M leader's son.

Meanwhile, parleys are currently on to see that Marzooqi backs out from any more legal action by giving him the money due. If unsolved, the issue would cloud the state party conference that Balakrishnan has to lead in Thrissur from February 22 to 25.

The issue has already caused a huge dent in the image of the CPI-M and Balakrishnan in particular -- who is to get a second three-year term as state secretary.

For the Kerala unit of the CPI-M -- which took a strong position against that of its General Secretary Sitaram Yechury last month when it voted out his draft of a tie up with the Congress to fight the BJP -- how the issue is seen by the national leadership, especially those in the Yechuri camp, is of importance.

What seems to have irked the Kerala unit was that it was after Yechury's stand was voted down that the letter from Marzooqi surfaced, leaving the leadership here red-faced. They suspect that the letter was a mischievous act by someone within the party.

It remains to be seen how Yechury handles the issue as both the Congress and the BJP in Kerala are demanding that Balakrishnan quit as state secretary.



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