April 23, 2024

SFIO to widen probe into money trail between Exalogic, CMRL

Thiruvananthapuram /Bengaluru: The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) has launched an investigation into the entire financial transactions between Exalogic, a firm owned by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s daughter Veena, and CMRL (Cochin Minerals and Rutile Limited), a Kochi-based private company.

An order issued by the Income Tax Interim Settlement Board had mentioned financial deals between the firms during the last three years only. However, SFIO has taken up a probe into transactions from 2016 to 2022, when Exalogic was dissolved. Exalogic agreed a deal with CMRL after Pinarayi Vijayan took over as Chief Minister in 2016. 

During the recent hearing on a plea against its investigation filed before the Karnataka High Court, the SFIO pointed out that ROC (Registrar of Companies) had initiated a probe into Exalogic’s functioning back in 2021. The inquiry was launched based on a complaint received as a letter which said that the address of Exalogic was given as AKG Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, the state headquarters of the CPM. This information was provided by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). 

In its response to queries from government agencies, Exalogic said that the company was functioning in a work-from-home arrangement. Subsequently, Exalogic was fined an amount of Rs one lakh, which was later reduced to Rs 20,000. Officials had also recorded Veena’s statement as part of the procedures. Soon, Veena applied to dissolve her company.

The current investigation by SFIO would cover other financial transactions of CMRL also, including donations to politicians.

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