House witnesses heated debate on Life Mission

Oppn. seeks adjournment motion to discuss HC ruling

The Assembly again witnessed heated debate on Wednesday on the alleged corruption in the construction of Life Mission’s flats at Wadakkanchery with the Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) seeking a discussion on the involvement of the Chief Minister’s Office in the irregularities.

The High Court ruling on Tuesday allowing a CBI inquiry even as a Vigilance inquiry ordered by the State is on into the Life Mission project paved the way for the UDF to raise the issue again in the House to corner the LDF government.

Seeking leave for an adjournment motion, Congress legislator Anil Akkara said the Wadakkanchery project was embroiled in corruption to the tune of several crores and alleged that the government and the gold-smuggling accused had a joint stake in this scam.

The legislator questioned the government on why the MoU was signed with UAE Red Crescent on July 11, 2019, when administrative sanction for ₹15 crore was given for the apartment complex. Mr. Akkara said the UAE Red Crescent offered to join the project on the request of M. Shivsankar, former Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister. The government claim that the flats being constructed were for flood victims was not true, he said.

Mr. Akkara said the government’s view that he and the UDF were against the project was baseless. “We have not opposed policy decisions. We have exposed the commission, FCRA violations and the bribe paid for the construction. We are welcoming the High Court order. Can the government welcome the ruling,” he asked.

Local Self Government Minister A.C. Moideen, in his reply, said the UDF was trying to tarnish the Life Mission and the government had no financial stakes in the project. "Life Mission and the government have not accepted any funds. It was the UAE Red Crescent that offered financial aid and we had no financial liabilities,” he said.

The Minister alleged that the UDF had joined hands with the Central investigating agencies to block government’s development projects in the State and to keep the officials under suspicion. The Vigilance inquiry will go on and legal advice will be sought on the High Court ruling allowing a CBI probe. No official found guilty would be protected by the government, he said.

Asserting that the aim was to ensure that there was no homeless in the State, the Minister said 2,50,547 houses and another 10,000 houses included later under the Life Mission would be completed by March. The scrutiny of the new applications was on.

With Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan denying permission for the motion following the Minister’s reply, UDF legislators staged a walk out. Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the High Court ruling was a blow to the government and an impartial inquiry would lead to the arrest of those in responsible positions.

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