Thiruvananthapuram : At a time when the Communist party in the country is celebrating its centenary, at its last bastion in Kerala things have reached a crucial moment after the two high-profile arrests in cases that have rocked the 'red party' and the government.
Amid all this the CPI-M's highest decision making body -- the Central Committee -- is having a two-day online meeting starting Friday.
The arrests have taken place at two power centres of the party: one at the office of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, when his trusted lieutenant and senior bureaucrat M.Sivasankar was arrested. And the other is of Bineesh Kodiyeri, the son of the state party secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.
Both of them have been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate, but in different cases. There appears to be a close link between the accused in these cases.
The ED has named Sivasankar as the fifth accused in a case under the Prevention of the Money Laundering Act, while the others in the list of accused includes the prime accused in the gold smuggling case -- Swapna Suresh, P.S. Sarith, Sandip Nair and Faizal Fareed.
The ED has arrested Bineesh in connection with the funding of money to an accused in a narcotic case -- Anoop Mohammed -- a Keralite. Anoop Mohammed was arrested by the Narcotic Control Bureau in Bengaluru a few months back.
The party has maintained a stoic silence, especially in the matter of Bineesh even as the party leaders are trying to put a defence in the case during the TV discussions. However, the rank and file of the party are facing a lot of flak, particularly on social media.
If the CPI-M had a field day towards the fag end of the Oommen Chandy government in 2015-16, they are now getting it back. This seems to be hurting them at a time when the state is on the verge of two crucial polls -- local body elections in December and the Assembly elections in May next year.
The Chief Minister himself has not said a word about the arrest of Bineesh, while when it came to Sivasankar, he brushed it aside by saying that he never knew him till he became his secretary in 2016 and he has nothing to do with what his secretary did.
Meanwhile with the Customs, NIA and the Income Tax department also going ahead with parallel probes, it is being heard on the grapevine that more high profile arrests may be made.