In a significant development, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), a prestigious multi-disciplinary agency under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, is set to investigate the case involving Veena Vijayan, the daughter of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, and her IT company Exalogic. The investigation has been transferred to SFIO from the Registrar of Companies (ROC), adding a new layer of scrutiny to the controversy surrounding Exalogic’s connections with CMRL (Cochin Minerals and Rutile Limited).
This move is anticipated to pose a challenge for Veena Vijayan, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, CMRL, and the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC). SFIO, known for its thorough investigations, is expected to delve into the alleged irregularities, examining the intricate details of the Exalogic-CMRL links.
As part of its investigation procedures, the SFIO is likely to conduct inspections and issue summonses for interrogations. This development has heightened the scrutiny on the controversial case, with observers closely watching the potential implications for those involved.
Shaun George had submitted a complaint to the Kerala High Court, alleging serious irregularities in the Exalogic-CMRL (Cochin Minerals and Rutile Limited) deal. The Registrar of Companies (ROC) had initiated an investigation under Companies Act 212 A&C, revealing substantial irregularities during its preliminary inquiries.
In response to the allegations, Shaun George petitioned the High Court to transfer the case from the ROC to SFIO. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs announced SFIO’s inquiry while the High Court was deliberating on the petition. A six-member SFIO team, headed by Additional Director Prasad Adell, is set to conduct the investigation, with Deputy Director Arun Prasad serving as the investigating officer. The team is committed to submitting its report within eight months.
The scope of the investigation includes Exalogic Solutions Private Limited, CMRL, and the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC). The central decision to transfer the case to SFIO has raised concerns for the CPM and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, as SFIO investigates large-scale financial fraud cases.
The Union Corporate Affairs Ministry, on January 31, ordered an investigation under Section 212 (1)(a) and (c) of the Companies Act, 2013. The Centre assigned the probe to SFIO, with Deputy Director M. Arun Prasad as the investigating officer. Prasad Adelli, K Prabhu, A Gokulnath, KMS Narayan, and Varun BS form the six-member team.
In response to the allegations during a Legislative Assembly discussion, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan refuted the claims, stating that accusations against him and his family members are baseless. He clarified that when his daughter initiated the business, her capital consisted of her mother’s gift, which were the statutory benefits from Kamala Vijayan’s retirement.
However, questions persist regarding the sufficiency of a primary school teacher’s retirement benefits to fund a venture like Exalogic. The IT firm owned by Veena Vijayan has faced various allegations, and this move to involve SFIO intensifies the scrutiny on the controversial case.
The SFIO’s intervention signifies a deepening of the investigation, elevating its significance beyond regional jurisdiction. As SFIO begins its inquiry, the outcomes could have far-reaching implications, not only for Veena Vijayan but also for the political landscape in Kerala. Observers are keenly watching how the investigation unfolds and whether it unravels the complexities surrounding Exalogic and its connections.