Flyover case: VACB seeks formation of medical board to assess Ex-Min's health

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Kochi, Nov 19 (PTI) The VACB on Thursday sought the constitution of a medical board to assess the health of former minister and IUML MLA V K Ebrahim Kunju arrested by it in connection with alleged corruption in the construction of a flyover here during the previous Congress-led UDF rule.

The counsel for the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) made the submission before the Court of the Enquiry Commissioner and Special Judge, Muvattupuzha, during the hearing of bail plea by Kunju and the application seeking his four-day custody sought by it.

The VACB submitted that the health condition of the former public works department minister, currently treated at a private hospital here for myeloma, a type of cancer, should be evaluated and sought formation of the medical board.

Kunju was arrested at the hospital on Wednesday, eight months after he was arraigned as accused in the corruption case relating to the construction of the Palarivattom flyover in the city.

The Court, which heard the bail plea moved by Kunju and the application filed by the VACB seeking his custody, posted the matter for November 24.

The agency said his custodial interrogation is quite inevitable for the proper investigation in the interest of justice.

Opposing the bail plea by Kunju, the VACB said being a public servant, he had carried out criminal conspiracy with three other accused and as a result an illegal administrative sanction order was issued by then PWD secretary T O Sooraj, to start the construction of the flyover violating rules.

In a report submitted in the court, the VACB said Kunju, in has capacity as the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Roads and Bridges Development Corporation Ltd, illegally sanctioned an amount of over Rs 8.25 crore as mobilization advance to first accused Sumeet Goyal.

Goyal is the contractor representing M/s RDS Projects Ltd which built the now-defunct flyover.

The investigating agency stated that as a result of the conspiracy hatched among the accused persons, Goyal compromised the quality and quantity of materials and built the flyover in a substandard manner jeopardising public safety.

The flyover still remains unusable and stands as 'symbol of mass corruption' and sheer misuse of public money, it said.

It further submitted that the probe revealed that the public exchequer had sustained a loss of Rs 13.45 crores in the construction of bridge.

With Rs 85.41 lakh being the interest on mobilization advance the first accused illegally gained corresponding gain in the construction of the flyover in connivance with the accused public servants including Kunju and others.

Seeking the custody of the IUML leader, the agency submitted that he was involved in the case and has lot of information at his personal knowledge which can be extracted during the custodial interrogation with the other witnesses and records.

Subsequent to the arrest, the former minister was interrogated and his statement recorded.

But, he was intentionally refusing to co-operate with the investigation and was reluctant to reveal the facts from his personal knowledge, it added.

The agency had earlier arrested former PWD secretary T O Sooraj, Managing Director of the RDS Projects Ltd, which built the flyover, Sumit Goyal and main accused M T Thankachan, former additional general manager of the Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala.

Kunju has dismissed as politically motivated the charges that he was responsible for the poor quality of the bridge, built when he was the PWD minister in the previous UDF government headed by Oommen Chandy.

In September this year, the Supreme Court had given its nod for replacing the 750-metre long flyover at Palarivattom here, which was commissioned in October 2016 after the CPI (M)-LDF came to power.

Vijayan, who ordered a Vigilance probe into alleged corruption in the construction of the flyover, had asserted that those involved would not be allowed to go scot-free. PTI TGB ROH ROH