CPI(M) State secretary of Kerala Kodiyeri Balakrishnan goes on leave on medical grounds amidst political controversy surrounding his son’s arrest

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Kodiyeri Balakrishnan at the inaugural function of the party district conference in Kannur on January 27, 2018. Photo: S.K. Mohan

The State secretariat of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Kerala has accepted the request of its party secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan to go on leave for medical treatment, a statement issued by the party said.

A. Vijayaraghavan, the Left Democratic Front’s (LDF) convener, has been given temporary charge of the party post.

The party’s decision comes nearly a fortnight after the arrest of Balakrishnan’s son, Bineesh Kodiyeri, in Bengaluru under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, and for his alleged links with persons now in the custody of the Narcotics Control Bureau for their involvement in a narcotics case. On November 12, a special court in Bangalore remanded Bineesh Kodiyeri to judicial custody until November 25.

Bineesh was arrested on October 29 by the Directorate of Enforcement (DoE) which said in its report to the court that it believed Anoop, a long-time associate, was “a ‘benamidar’ of Bineesh Kodiyeri and the former’s financial dealings were done on the instructions of Bineesh who had paid huge amounts of money to him”.

Subsequently, it also raided the residence of Bineesh Kodiyeri in Thiruvananthapuram, giving further ammunition to Opposition protests in Kerala against the CPI(M) and the LDF government and demanding Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s resignation.

CPI(M) central committee member M.V. Govindan told the media after the secretariat meeting on November 13 that Vijayaraghavan has been given temporary charge of the State secretary’s post as “Kodiyeri Balakrishnan made a request that he needed continued leave for undergoing treatment” and that “he could not discharge the duties of the secretary.”

To a question how long Kodiyeri Balakrishnan would be on leave, Govindan said, “it will depend on how long he needs treatment”.

Last year, too, Balakrishnan he took leave from party work while he was on treatment in the United States. But no one was put in charge of the party secretary’s post then.

Ramesh Chennithala, the Opposition Leader, alleged that Balakrishnan’s decision was “a reflection of serious differences of opinion within the State CPI(M)”. In the context of the involvement of members of the Chief Minister’s office too in the gold smuggling and related cases, it was “the Chief Minister who should have resigned first”, he said.

The arrests of Bineesh Kodiyeri in the money laundering case and of M. Sivasankar, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, in connection with the gold smuggling case in the last week of October have come when political parties in Kerala are about to launch their campaigns for the crucial elections to the local bodies in the State to be held in three phases from December 8.

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