Sun, 11 Apr 2021

Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], March 4 (ANI): Alleging that the Model Code of Conduct was violated by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her visit to Kerala, state Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday said the former is 'attempting to attack' his government by using Enforcement Directorate (ED).'Addressing media here, Vijayan said if Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) officials called by investigation agencies do not give statements, attempts are being made to misbehave with them and threaten them.

"Model Code of Conduct is in force in Kerala, which aims to ensure providing an equal playing field to all parties. But some things are happening here against it. Sitharaman came heremade some baseless allegations. She made a speech against KIIFB, which is an initiative for development. As she knows her allegations didn't make any sense, she has now attempted to attack the state govt by using ED," said the Chief Minister.

"Some officers of central probe agencies are showing overenthusiasm in it. If officials (of KIIFB) called by investigation agencies do not give statements, attempts are being made to misbehave with them and threaten them. They (officials of probe agencies) behave in such a manner as if they would attack physically," he added.

The Chief Minister said KIIFB has issued Masala Bonds after obtaining permission from RBI and is following all norms. "State Finance Minister has explained it. I want to make it clear that if anyone attacks us with false allegations, we'll not allow it. We don't have the culture of surrender," he said.

Yesterday Vijayan accused ED of summoning KIIFB officials and said it is violating the Model Code of Conduct.

In a letter written to the Chief Election Commissioner, he said that the ED summoned KIIFB officials as per the political interests of Sitharaman, hence, calling it a violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

"The EC should take action against the investigating agency for violating the code of conduct," the Chief Minister said.

Nirmala Sitharaman's remark on February 28 during a BJP Yatra is evidence of the political use of investigative agencies, the letter read.

Recently, Sitharaman accused the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government of giving all the budget money to KIIFB.

While Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac on Tuesday said that there was no violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) in an alleged case of external borrowings of KIIFB through Masala Bonds.

"There is absolutely no violation of FEMA as we have received No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Reserve Bank of India (RBI)," said Thomas Isaac while speaking to ANI.

ED has registered a case against KIIFB for external borrowings through Masala Bonds without the permission of the union government.

KIIFB was constituted by the state government as a corporate body. In November 2020, it had initiated an investigation into the Masala bonds of the KIIFB, as per the sources. Recently, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman accused the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government of giving all the budget money toKIIFB. (ANI)

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