ED issues summons Lulu Group’s Yusuff Ali in Kerala; Chairman calls it fake

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned LuLu Group MD and Chairman, MA Yusuff Ali, for questioning, in connection to the LIFE Mission case, as per media reports

The UAE-based billionaire has been called for questioning on 16 March. ED sources said that Ali was earlier called on 1 March but he did not appear at the ED office, some news report has claimed.

On Tuesday, Yusuff Ali finally broke his silence on his name being surfaced in the alleged bribery case. “It’s quite common that when someone does something for the poor and weaker sections of the society, their names will be discussed and I am not going to be worried because of that,” Ali was quoted by IANS.

However, Yusuffali as reported by the New Indian Express has called the ED summon report as false. As per the report, he asserted that the company would not fall victim to a “misinformation campaign” and that the organisation would consider taking legal action against individuals who disseminated false information about him and the group. 

Speaking of the Life Mission case, last month M Sivasankar was arrested by the ED. Last week, former principal secretary to the Kerala Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), who has been in ED custody in connection to the LIFE Mission case, was shifted to a hospital on Saturday. 

The Special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court had extended the judicial custody of M Sivasankar till 21 March in the case. 

Sivasankar’s arrest is the first in the case, pertaining to the state government’s LIFE Mission project, which intended to provide homes to the poor who lost their houses in the floods of 2018. The housing project was proposed at Vaddakanchery in the Thrissur district.

The project intended to build houses for 140 families in Vadakkanchery by spending 14.50 crore out of 18.50 crore granted by the Red Crescent via the UAE consulate. The contract noted the construction of a health care centre using the remaining amount.

The ED had claimed that Sivasankar, 60 and others made undue monetary gains in the form of kickbacks in awarding the contract for the construction of the houses under the LIFE Mission scheme.

On February 16, the remand report submitted by ED in the PMLA Court against M Sivasankar, former principal secretary to the Kerala CMO in the LIFE Mission Scam Case, revealed some WhatsApp chats between him and other accused Swapna Suresh.

The remand report alleged that there is a larger nexus involving government representatives in the allocation of contracts and the generation of proceeds of crime via the upfront commission as a bribe.

“In his WhatsApp message sent to Swapna on July 31, 2019, Sivasankar warned Swapna to be very careful and asked to take care. In his WhatsApp message, Sivasankar told Swapna not to get involved and warned her that if something goes wrong, they would put blame on her. He also told Swapna to keep away from the process to which Swapna replied that she would give it to Sarith and Khalid (other suspects in the case). Sivasankar also told Swapna that CM had asked him to get a job for Swapna,” the remand report read.

The report further said that the material evidence such as the WhatsApp conversation between Swapna Suresh and Sivasankar and the statement given by Suresh, it is clearly indicating that there is a larger nexus involving government representatives in the allocation of contracts and generation of proceeds of crime via the upfront commission as a bribe.

(With inputs from agencies)


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