The Privileges and Ethics Committee of the Kerala Legislative Assembly has sought an explanation from the Enforcement Directorate on the intervention made by it in the Life Mission project of the Left government. The committee decided to seek explanation from the central agency after a notice for privilege motion was moved by CPI(M) legislator James Mathew alleging that EDs "legally questionable inquiry" into Life Mission had halted the government’s project to provide free housing for the poor.
The Committee has sought an explanation from ED on the basis of a letter given by Mathew in this regard, A Pradeepkumar, chairman of the committee said. "Normally, the reply needs to be given within seven days after accepting the notice," Pradeepkumar said.
Mathew said the Life Mission project was part of the Left government's policy which was assured by the Governor in his speech in the state Assembly. "The ED's action seeking all the files of the project was tantamount to breach of legislative privilege as the government had promised the Assembly that the project would be completed in a speedy manner," Mathew told the media.
He said the complaints and allegations of corruption were raised in connection with the Wadakkanchery Life Mission project but ED intervened in a manner that impedes all construction works across the state. "The issue was relating to one particular project at Wadakkanchery but the ED has sought for the files of all Life Mission projects, hampering the works across Kerala.
The promise given by the Chief Minister and the Left government to the Assembly was that the project will be completed and handed over to those eligible on time. However, the intervention from the agency will not not allow this," Mathew said.
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala had earlier alleged that the action of the Speaker, referring Mathew's letter to the Privilege and Ethics committee of the Assembly, seems like "he was more loyal than the king." "The ED’s investigation into an alleged money laundering case was not tantamount to breach of legislative privilege.The Speaker shouldwithdraw the notice issued to the agency," Chennithala said. The committee has issued notice to the ED after the Speaker referred Mathew's complaintas per section 159 of the Kerala Legislative Assembly, Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business.