Kerala Kaumudi Online
Friday, 07 May 2021 4.41 PM IST

Don't see political differences in arrest on corruption charges


Former PWD minister Ebrahim Kunju was arrested by the Vigilance Police on Wednesday on the basis of his involvement in the horrific scam behind the Palarivattom flyover, which collapsed within a year of its construction. There are indications that those in vigilance may have leaked the information regarding the arrest to the former minister. This can be read together with him suddenly falling ill and getting hospitalized who active with the election campaign a day before. However, the law has taken its course as the former minister was arrested and remanded while in hospital, and the matter is to be decided in court.

The UDF leadership has come out and accused the arrest of Ibrahim Kunju as an unwarranted and politically motivated action. The reason for the accusation might be due to the upcoming local elections. Opposition leaders have also accused the former minister of being implicated in the Palarivattom case as an opportunity for the ruling party to settle accounts in the wake of other scandals and the arrests of prominent people. The people are already aware of the shocking irregularities and corruption in the construction of the Palarivattom bridge. However, the UDF allegation that the arrest of Ebrahim Kunju was unwarranted is true in a sense. He should have been arrested much earlier. It should be remembered that the former minister was arrested nine months after he was named as an accused in the Palarivattom corruption case. The case has reached the brink of arrest at various stages before. But it didn't happen for unknown reasons. There is a system in place to bring anyone to justice, no matter his status and involvement.

Ebrahim Kunju, the then PWD Minister, is named as the fifth accused in the corruption case for ordering to pay Rs 8.5 crore in advance without even interest to the company that undertook the construction of the Palarivattom flyover . Statement of TO Sooraj, who was the PWD secretary at the time, was crucial in his arrest. Earlier, four accused, including Sooraj, were arrested.

Corruption in PWD works is no secret. It is a thingthat is more or less ubiquitous. In the case of the Palarivattom flyover, it broke all the limits as corruption was in full swing. In the ninth month after the inauguration, the bridge began to show serious construction defects. Every stage from design to construction was filled with corruption. Less than three years later, things got to the point where the bridge had to be completely closed. In the inspections that followed, the entire scam surfaced. At the moment, everything except pillars are being constructed. Can the opposition leaders, who are adamant that the arrest of Ibrahim Kunju is a political ploy, can say with all their heart that there was not a shred of corruption in the construction of the Palarivattom flyover, that had a construction cost of Rs 39 crores? Shouldn't those responsible be punished for the misuse of money from the public exchequer? How can a person in charge of the PWD department get away with this scam? The hands of the law got to him when all the protections he had as a minister were not enough. Opposition leaders, who have been blaming and cursing the government for the arrests, should also open up to society about their independent stance on corruption. The social evil of corruption must be seen as such and the political differences shouldn't stand in the way. Every penny spent on the upliftment of the people and the state is priceless. Those who have empowered to represent the people must be aware that every penny leaked through corruption has the value of people's sweat. Eliminating the evil of corruption is not easy. But if those at the top set an example, it will surely pay off. The allegation leveled against Balakrishna Pillai, who was a minister in the Edamalayar case years ago, was that he had caused a loss of Rs 2 crore to the state by awarding a contract. Pillai was eventually convicted and imprisoned in the case, which went to the Supreme Court. Many sepoys have been punished here for accepting bribes of ten rupees. Bribery and corruption, whether Rs 10 crore or Rs 100 crore, are punishable offenses. Whether it is a minister or an official, should never think that you can get away with corruption by wearing a political mask.

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