Recently, the Palarivattom flyover scam has been in the news in Kerala. Key accused in this scam V.K. Ibrahim Kunju is from the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), a long-standing ally of the Congress. The name of IAS officers T.O. Sooraj Mohammed, who was also District Collector when the gory Marad massacre of 8 Hindus took place in 2003, has also come up in the scam.
Palarivattom flyover scam
V.K. Ibrahim Kunju was the Public Works Department (PWD) minister in the previous Congress-led UDF (United Democratic front) government. The honourable governor of Kerala has given permission to the Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau (VACB) to question this IUML leader for his role in the now infamous Palarivattom flyover scam.
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is responsible for the development, maintenance and management of national highways all over Bharat. Any bridges built on these highways are usually built by NHAI. Ibrahim Kunju decided that he would construct the flyover on a national highway, without the permission or an NOC from NHAI.
Then he made sure that the contract went to RDS Projects Ltd. RDS had originally quoted an amount of approximately 47 crores. This even though another competitor had quoted 41 crores. Later on a rebate of 13.43% was offered by RDS Projects Ltd. This brought down the tender amount to less than what the competitor had quoted. PWD officials had made ‘corrections’ in the tender register – the original handwriting was different. This was a clear violation of the rules.
During the pre-bid meeting there were no provisions for advance payment to be released. But after having ‘won’ the bid, RDS Projects Ltd. was paid an advance at an interest rate of just 7%. This was less than the market rate charged by public sector banks. If the competitor had this privilege, they would have quoted even less than Rs. 41 Crores.
The flyover was commissioned in October of 2016 and was decommissioned in May 2019. The bridge did not conform to any standards laid down by the law. It had problems at the expansion joints. It was closed to the public after the structure started developing cracks.
All this happened with the connivance of Ibrahim Kunju and IAS officer T.O. Sooraj Mohammed (original name Siraj Mohammed). Sooraj Mohammed was the PWD secretary working for Ibrahim Kunju. He made sure that work was being granted to companies that the IUML favoured. He was embroiled in various other corruption charges, involving the congress party, CPM and the IUML. Now he has 34 vigilance cases against him. The latest is the infamous palarivattom flyover corruption case.
History of T.O. Sooraj (Siraj) Mohammed, IAS
The first of the infamous Marad communal riots happened on the 3rd and 4th of January 2002. Three Muslims and two Hindus lost their lives. The second one happened on the 2nd of May 2003. The second incident was revenge for the first riot. Around 90 muslims armed with swords, knives and other weapons went on a rampage. 9 innocent lives were lost that day. 8 of them Hindus and 1 Muslim. The muslim who was killed, died after sustaining injuries from his own co assailants. 16 Hindus including two women were also seriously injured that day.
Criminal conspiracy was hatched after the first riots. The Juma masjid mosque in Marad, was where it was planned and executed. After the incident took place the fundamentalists took refuge in the mosque. Police who tried to enter the mosque were stopped by marauding local muslim women who had by then surrounded the mosque. Ultimately when the police did enter the mosque, they found the muslim men wearing the same blood stained clothes. Ninety country made bombs, forty swords, petrol bombs, choppers, spears and iron pipes were recovered from inside the mosque. The Muslim terrorists were arrested and the mosque sealed off.
Nexus between political parties and fundamentalists
At the time, Congress party was governing the state under CM A.K. Antony. The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) had just lost a local panchayat poll at Marad. A Muslim had won with the help of many Hindus there. The CPM wanted to divide and rule. Meanwhile, the dreaded National Democratic Front (NDF) and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) had joined hands to unleash terror on the Hindu community there. The NDF is now operating under the name of Popular Front of India (PFI).
State machinery turning against Hindus – the evidence
Under pressure from Hindu organisations, the Chief minister was forced to order an independent enquiry. The Commission of Enquiry was headed by Justice Thomas P Joseph. Based on his report the following facts were brought to light.
- The appointment of Abdul Rahim as the Assistant Commissioner of Police was suspicious. The weapons accumulation at the mosque began many months prior to the actual riots under the nose of police pickets stationed at Marad.
- There was a secret agenda of Muslim fundamentalists with backing from external forces (ISI) to wipe out the Hindu community from coastal areas of Kerala.
- The District Collector T.O. Sooraj (Siraj) Mohammed was communal in his activities. His conduct was doubtful. To hide his misconduct he deposed before the commission that the situation in Marad was peaceful as far as the intelligence reports reported by the police.
- The industries minister, P.K. Kunhalikutty of the IUML and T.O. Sooraj Mohammed had prior knowledge regarding the riots.
- There was prior information that a Bijili, alias Noufal was being encouraged by the NDF to exact revenge for the killing of his father. His father had died during the first riots.
The situation was far from peaceful. The local MLA had written twice to the chief minister that trouble was brewing. Police picketing was rare and inefficient. But what baffled the commission the most was the fact that the District Collector office was not maintaining any register for reports received from the local police, intelligence units or the district special branch. Even as communal harmony was at its lowest, Sooraj Mohammed allowed the then central minister E Ahamed to perform namaz in the locked up juma masjid. However no action was taken against Sooraj Mohammed.
Not surprisingly, this is what Wikipedia says about the Marad massacre –
Incidentally, IUML leader and Kerala industries minister P.K. Kunhalikutty was also one of the key accused in the infamous 1997 Kozhikode ice cream parlour sex scandal, where a minor girl said she was sexually assaulted by him. One of his own relatives accused Kunhalikutty of bribing judges to get a favourable verdict in the case. Kunhalikutty is now the IUML MP in the Rajya Sabha.
Sooraj Mohammed was arrested in the Palarivattom flyover scam, but was granted bail after just two months. The prosecution had argued that since a probe was on against the former minister Ibrahim Kunju, granting bail to Mohammed would adversely affect the investigation. Many other names have also come up in the scam, but investigations are ongoing.
National mainstream media obsesses over every little thing happening in Delhi or any BJP-ruled state. But when it comes to ‘progressive’ states like Kerala, there is an eerie silence. Kerala today is the hub of the worst kind of Islamist bigotry as role of Kerala-based quasi-terror organisations like PFI in recent anti-CAA rioting shows.
Whoever is ruling Kerala, be it the CPM, Congress or the IUML – all are hand in glove in promoting corruption and anti national activities in God’s own country.
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