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Riyas attributes CMRL payments to Veena Vijayan to media houses’ vested interests.

Kerala Public Works Department Minister P A Mohammed Riyas has declined to address allegations regarding his wife and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s daughter, T Veena, reportedly receiving regular payments from private firm Cochin Minerals and Rutile Limited (CMRL).

“The state secretariat of the CPM has already made a statement regarding the matter. No matter how many times you ask, the answer is always the same,” he responded to media inquiries.

Riyas added, “Personal interests of media house owners are behind these controversies. Journalists lack freedom and fall prey to the interests of these owners.”

The issue revolves around a document submitted to the Interim Settlement Board of the Income Tax Department. This document reveals that numerous individuals, including Veena, received payments from CMRL.

In December 2016, CMRL entered an agreement with Veena’s company, Exalogic, for software services, with another agreement signed in March 2017. According to the agreements, CMRL was obligated to pay Veena Rs 5 lakh and Exalogic Rs 3 lakh per month.

Records indicate that Veena received a total of Rs 1.72 crore — Rs 55 lakh personally and Rs 1.17 crore for Exalogic.

CMRL’s Chief Financial Officer K S Suresh Kumar and Chief General Manager P Suresh Kumar testified before the IT Interim Settlement Board, stating they were unaware of any services provided by Veena and Exalogic as per the contracts.

Subsequently, Kartha and company officials attempted to retract their statement through an affidavit. Nevertheless, the Income Tax Department maintained that the payments to Veena and Exalogic were illegal.

During a press meet organized by the CPM, state secretary M V Govindan walked out when media personnel inquired about the alleged payments, without even acknowledging the question.

A statement released by the CPM on August 10 dismissed the “monthly bribe” controversy as false propaganda, believed to be timed in view of the upcoming Puthupally bye-election scheduled for the following month.


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