Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala assembly on Monday wound up the day’s session following loud opposition protests, after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan defended his senior party colleague M.V. Govindan’s wife in the matter of the suicide of a Nigeria-based Non-Resident Indian (NRI) businessman.
The incident has become a major embarrassment for the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) as the suicide has reportedly been provoked by the failure of the businessman to obtain the necessary sanctions for his venture from the local civic body headed by the wife of a top CPM leader.
Replying to opposition legislator K.M. Shaji’s demand for a discussion on the issue, Vijayan, while expressing deep anguish over the suicide of the businessman, reminded the opposition that multiple probes are ongoing in the matter.
“We have already made some changes to the concept of ease of doing business and also the powers of the secretaries in the local bodies will also soon be cut, so cases like these won’t happen. In this case, once the probe results come out, none will be spared and very strong action would be coming,” said Vijayan.
Sajan Parayil, 49, was found hanging from the roof of his home in Kannur on Tuesday, after a state-of-the-art convention centre that he built by investing Rs160 million (Dh8.4 million) failed to get clearance from the district’s Anthoor Municipality.
The expatriate businessman’s wife, Beena, blamed Anthoor Municipality chairperson P.K. Shyamala for his suicide. Shyamala is the wife of CPM central committee member and former legislator M.V. Govindan.
Leader of opposition in the assembly, Ramesh Chennithala, hit back at Vijayan and said that the such incidents are happening because of the factional feud in the ruling CPM at Kannur.
“You spoke for 19 minutes today and not a word was said about the manner in which Shyamala acted with vengeance. This is nothing but a cold blooded murder by your party [CPM],” Chennithala said.
“I have started getting numerous calls from the diaspora of the way things are panning out for them, when the Kerala government is inviting them to invest in the state. The least you can do is to take action against Shyamala and not merely make scapegoats of the [four] officials who have been suspended,” he added.
Following his speech, the opposition members trooped into the well of the house and, after a while, Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan left his seat.
When he returned, the opposition members were again up in arms, forcing the Speaker to rush through the day’s listed business and adjourn the House for the day.
Outside the assembly, Chennithala said that he is quitting as Vice-Chairman of the Loka Kerala Sabha — a recently formed body with Vijayan as Chairman, which has been created to channelise the investment and expertise of Malayali industrialists settled abroad for betterment of the state.
“There is no point in me continuing as its Vice-Chairman, as this government is not interested to take action against the real people whose arrogance led to the death of a budding businessman,” he said.
Taking suo moto cognisance of the suicide, the Kerala High Court on Friday asked the state government to investigate the reasons behind it and produce all the relevant papers before the court on July 15.