Kerala High Court will decide on M Sivasankar's request for bail in the Life Mission case on Monday

Kerala High Court will decide on M Sivasankar's request for bail in the Life Mission case on Monday

On Monday, the Kerala High Court will decide whether to grant M Sivasankar's request for bail. Sivasankar was Pinarayi Vijayan's former principal secretary and was detained by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in relation to alleged financial irregularities in the execution of a major housing project for the state.

The Additional Solicitor General will appear before the court online on Monday, the ED notified Judge A Badharudeen, and the court will hear the case on March 27.

Upon his arrest on February 14, Sivasankar has been held in judicial detention till April 4.

The Keralan government created the Life Mission initiative to provide homes for the state's homeless population. A home complex in Wadakkancherry was to be built as part of the project using resources provided by the international humanitarian group Red Crescent. Sane Ventures and Unitac Construction were given the building contract.

The two businesses started the building as a result of a contract they signed with Red Crescent, which committed to contribute Rs 20 crore to the Life Mission project in Wadakkancherry.

To win the construction contract, it has been claimed that Unitac Builders paid kickbacks to Sivasankar and the UAE Consul General. This was discovered after Swapna Suresh and Sarith PS, former employees of the UAE Consulate, were detained by the ED and Customs in connection with another case involving the smuggling of gold into Kerala.

On a complaint made by the then Wadakkanchery MLA and Congress leader Anil Akkara, the CBI in 2020 filed a FIR in a Kochi court under Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code (punishment of criminal conspiracy) and Section 35 of the FCRA, listing Unitac Builders Managing Director Santhosh Eappen as the first accused and the company Sane Ventures as the second accused.

The Congress party has been claiming that the contractor's selection by Red Crescent was corrupted.

When Swapna Suresh, the lead defendant in the contentious gold smuggling case, was accused by opposition parties of admitting before an NIA court that she had received Rs 1 crore as commission for the project, the alleged FCRA violation and corruption in the project had grown into a significant political issue. She allegedly said that Sivasankar was the intended recipient of the funds.

While Unitac and Sane Ventures had performed the work in accordance with their agreement with Red Crescent and had directly received international donations from the foreign organisation, the then-CEO of Life Mission, U V Jose, had argued before the court that this was not the case.

The CEO had further argued that organisations that entered into an arrangement with the Red Crescent did not fall under any of the categories of people who are forbidden under Section 3 of the FCRA from accepting any foreign contributions.