Isaac doesn’t need not to appear till Aug 17, ED tells Kerala HC (Ld)

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday told the Kerala High Court that two-time state’s former Finance Minister Thomas Isaac does need not to appear before it until next Wednesday (August 17).

The ED said this after Isaac had approached the court seeking its intervention in the notice that ED had sent twice, asking him to appear before them with numerous documents including the personal ones, in connection with the probe into the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) scam.

Isaac was supposed to appear before them on Thursday at their office here.

To this, Justice V.G. Arun verbally observed that Isaac has right to privacy and it cannot be curtailed without following the proper procedures established by the law.

“He has a right to privacy also that can’t be breached without following the procedure established by law. Can you ask him for all these documents at the first instance as you have done here,” the judge queried.

The ED counsel then sought time to take instructions and the case has been posted for further consideration on August 17.

Senior Counsel Siddhartha Dave, appearing for Isaac, said that the ED was acting as if Isaac has committed some crime though the probe is into KIIFB.

Earlier on Thursday, Isaac told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram that he will not appear before the ED in connection with the KIIFB scam at their office in Kochi, saying that ED was a political tool to target political rivals.

He said since he has not been told what wrong he had done, he will not appear before the ED in the case, and instead has sought a legal recourse. This was the second notice from the ED to Isaac.

Speaking to the media here, Isaac said he has filed a petition before the Kerala High Court and hence won’t appear.

“ED has now become a tool for the BJP to target political rivals. The apex court has clearly said ED is to tackle cases under Public Money Laundering Act and not under FEMA. It is the RBI which deals with FEMA and the affairs of the KIIFB and all mandatory filings have been made to the RBI,” said Isaac.

“My offence has not been told to me by the ED. And if they are not informing me of that, then they should recall their notice to me. Hence I have approached the court. ED appears to have more rights than the CBI. They are using this to usurp the powers of the state governments and are trying to create a smokescreen to confuse people here that something very big has happened in KIIFB,” added Isaac.

Turning his ire at the Congress here, Isaac said KIIFB was inactive during the period of the Oommen Chandy government ( 2011-16).

“Five years were lost and that has caused a serious dent in the development of Kerala, as they did nothing and now they have joined hands with the ED. The CPI-M has now decided to deal with ED legally and politically. We will get support from the people here in our fight against the ED and when that happens, nothing can be done,” said Isaac.

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