Kodiyeri Balakrishnan steps aside as CPI(M) secretary in Kerala

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Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 13 (PTI): Days after the arrest of his son Bineesh in an alleged money laundering case by the Enforcement Directorate in Bengaluru, senior CPI(M) leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Friday stepped aside from the post of party secretary in Kerala.

According to a statement issued by the party secretariat here, Balakrishnan, who is also a politburo member, had sought leave for further treatment, which has been accepted by the Marxist party.

Left DemocraticFront (LDF) convener, A Vijayaraghavan has been entrusted with additional charge of the party secretary, it said.

The development comes as the three-phase local body polls are scheduled next month in the southern state.

Also, former home minister in the V S Achutanandan ministry, Balarkrishnan, who is considered second most strong man in the party after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan,has been undergoing treatment for cancer for some time.

Senior CPI(M) leader M Govindan Master said here that Balakrishnan was granted leave on medical grounds.

'He (Balakrishnan) had sought leave for his treatment which has been granted by the party secretariat today,' he told reporters.

When asked how long he would be on leave, Master said that would depend on his treatment.

In an embarrassmentto the Left party, the Enforcement Directorate in Bengaluru had arrested Bineesh, Kodiyeri's younger son, on October 29 in a money laundering case linked to a drug seizure in Karnataka.

The central agency had charged that Kodiyeri's son had close connections with drug peddler Mohammed Anoop arrestedby them and the hotel, Anoop was operating in Bengaluru, was Bineesh's benami property.

The probe agency also charged Bineesh with transferring huge amounts of money into Anoop's bank account.

Bineesh, however, maintained that he knew Anoop and his family and the latter had borrowed money from him and some others for setting up the restaurant business a few years ago.

Since Bineesh was taken into custody by the central agency, opposition parties had been clamouringfor Balakrishnan's resignation.

CPI state secretary, Kanam Rajendran refused to comment on the matter saying that it was the internal issue of the Marxist party.

Opposition Congress leaders, Ramesh Chennithala and Oommen Chandy said the decision should have been taken much earlier.

'Even though it was too late, the decision was apt,' Chandy, who is also former chief minister, said.PTI UD LGK SS PTI PTI