Malabar Cements Ltd. (MCL) based in Walayar, Palakkad district has once again landed in controversy after the confessional statement of the company’s former Managing Director was made public.
A fully owned Government of Kerala undertaking, the firm was started in 1984 and is known more for sordid tales of corruption than the ‘superior quality’ cement it produces. The firm dominated the headlines in 2011, when the company secretary V. Saseendran hailing from Jawahar Nagar, Kurudikkadu in Palakkad district was found dead along with his two children Vivek (10) and Vyas (8) at his home on January 24. Saseendran, the main whistle blower in the Rs 350 crore corruption in MCL was aware of ruse going on in the company involving the senior political leaders and government officials. He had reported the matter to the senior authorities and also written to the Chief Minister in August 2010 addressing the issue. Saseendran reportedly had been under tremendous pressure from the opponents which finally led to the tragic incident. Whether he committed suicide or was murdered by the hired goons of his opponents is still unknown. After continuous efforts from several people’s organizations and human rights groups, the CBI was finally entrusted to probe the case. According to the report submitted by the CBI in June 2013, the kids were hanged before Saseendran committed suicide.
V M Radhakrishnan, a private contractor dealing with the supply and transportation of raw materials to the factory and a controversial businessman, was charged with instigating the suicide of Saseendran and his children. He is also accused in the corruption cases related to MCL. Radhakrishnan has been able to continue his ‘activities’ only with the support of Left and Right political parties. When the CPM formed the Palakkad plenum for saving the party from corruption and Bourgeoisie values, Radhakrishnan had published an advertisement extending greetings to them. The advert had become highly controversial and had been a hot topic of debates among the delegates. The confessional statement of the former MD of the company, Sundara Murthy before the judicial magistrate court has revealed that CPI (M) central committee member Elamaram Kareem has had close links with Radhakrishnan and had allegedly taken “a parcel of money” from him through Murthy. According to Murthy, the incident took place in 2010 when Kareem was Minister for Industry in the then CPI (M)-led government. The links with the controversial businessman, the adverts for the party plenum and the attempts to undermine the case indicates the complexity of the issue.
The disgusting story of corruption in MCL is an example of the good rapport between the LDF and the UDF. The government should be willing to entrust the case to the CBI for further inquiry. The ‘all party confederation’ in Kerala is behind all the moves and therefore cautious public intervention is essential in the matter.