Kerala: VD Satheesan criticises EP Jayarajan over Santiago Martin row

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Congress leader VD Satheesan criticised the current ruling party in Kerala on Friday, June 30, over recent graft allegations against senior journalist G Sakthidharan.

Sakthidharan previously said that he helped a CPM leader count Rs 2.35 crore at the daily Deshabhimani office. Following the revelation, Congress demanded a probe against the chief minister.

“Police are unable to take action on the matter. A group in Kerala CM’s office is circumventing all cases against them. Meanwhile, fabricated cases are registered against the opposition leaders. We will fight this legally and politically,” Satheesan in his statement said, as per mathrubhumi.

He also talked about EP Jayarajan for defending the party and chief minister, saying, “The person who is trying to defend the party is someone who accepted Rs 2 crores from Santiago Martin,” referring to Jayarajan’s link to Martin in the past.

Jayarajan was also previously in hot water for accepting Rs 2 crore from lottery king Santiago Martin to fund the party’s mouthpiece Deshabhimani. All this occurred during the time when the LDF government led by VS Achuthanandan was taking strict action against the lottery mafia.

Despite the criticism, Jayarajan insisted that the funds were necessary in order to keep the newspaper business running. In 2006, he was removed from his position as general manager of Deshabhimani due to the controversy.

The money acquired from Martin was reportedly returned, although the Marxist party and Jayarajan did try to justify the reasons to take the money.

Martin has also been under the radar of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) over money laundering allegations. Most recently, the ED conducted search operations on various residential and business premises of Santiago Martin & Others in Chennai.

During the operation, ED froze assets worth Rs 457 Crore under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA). The assets contained over Rs 100 crore in Fixed Deposits and Mutual Funds, along with Rs 299 Crore as immovable property documents.