Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], July 19 (ANI): Senior CPI (M) leader Thomas Issac has said he will not appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which has served him a notice in connection with its probe into alleged violations in the financial dealings of KIIFB when he was the Kerala finance minister in the previous LDF government.
Denying all allegations against him, Isaac said that the move was done to "scuttle unparalleled infrastructure investments" in Kerala and said that he will not be appearing for the summons.
"It's a move to scuttle unparalleled infrastructure investment in Kerala. Say if these projects are implemented with advanced hospitals, modern industrial parks, all transmission lines of 440 KV, internet in every household etc. This is a kind of dramatic transformation that will take place in the state and somebody wants to scuttle it. I can't go for the summons. I am too committed," said Issac.
In a Facebook posting yesterday Thomas said that he would not be able to appear for questioning due to pending classes at EMS Academy. The matter will be discussed by the CPI(M).
Issac also highlighted that he was a victim of a political conspiracy and had followed the then Reserve Bank of India's guidelines to borrow masala bonds.
"I was a victim of a political conspiracy. KIIFB is a boarding corporate that is entitled to borrow masala bonds as per the then-existing guidelines of RBI. So we applied in the format and RBI gave us permission. Since then every month we have been submitting the details of the deployment of funds, and not once has RBI objected to it," he said.
He also stressed that if there's an issue then RBI is the custodian.
Earlier, the leader of the opposition V D Satheesan had said that the issues related to masala bonds were raised in assembly and Issac had to prove himself to the ED.
"We had raised this allegation in the assembly. This is against the constitution. We are very clear that they sold the masala bonds at huge interest rates. They sold the masala bonds at 9.7 per cent interest and deposited that money at new generation banks at an interest rate of 6 or 7 per cent. Now ED has issued a notice, and he (Issac) has to prove himself. If he is right, he has to go and prove himself," said Satheesan.
The ED had served notice to Issac to appear before it on Tuesday to gather information on financial transactions regarding the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board, sources said.
During the campaign for the state assembly elections last year, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had criticised the functioning of the KIIFB, alleging that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has criticised its financial dealings. She had also termed as "questionable" the operation of KIIFB.
KIIFB is the primary agency of the state government for financing large and critical infrastructure projects and in 2019 raised Rs 2,150 crore through its debut masala bond issue as part of its plan to mobilise Rs 50,000 crore to fund large and critical infrastructure projects in the southern state. (ANI)