Former Kerala PWD minister Ibrahim Kunju Arrested in Palarivattom Flyover Graft Case

The Kerala vigilance and anti-corruption bureau on Wednesday recorded the arrest of former PWD Minister and Muslim League MLA VK Ibrahim Kunju, who is currently admitted to a hospital, in the Palarivattom flyover graft case.

The MLA has been receiving treatment for a health condition for the past one year, and was admitted to a private hospital in Ernakulam on Tuesday night. He is currently continuing his treatment here.

Officials reached the hospital and recorded his arrest. The opposition has claimed the move is politically motivated; an attempt by the state government to avert focus from the gold scam case and various corruption allegations against it.

Construction of the Palarivattom flyover bridge commenced during the tenure of previous UDF government in 2014. The project was completed and opened for commuters shortly after the left government took charge in June 2016. The bridge developed problems in its expansion joints a few months after the inauguration. In 2019, the bridge was closed for traffic.

The state government then launched a vigilance probe into the construction of the bridge. The anti-corruption bureau had arrested earlier arrested four people in the case, including former PwD Secretary T O Sooraj and Managing Director of RDS project Ltd – the company which executed the project – on charges of corruption.

“This arrest is politically motivated. We have information that for the past two to three days, meetings were held in Trivandrum on how he could be arrested. The Kerala government has been criticising the Centre for using central agencies against political opponents, but now they are doing the same,” said Muslim league MP P K Kunjalikutty.

Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has also claimed that the arrest is politically motivated. He said that 30 per cent of the flyover work was completed during the tenure of present LDF government.

Palarivattom is one of the important and busiest junctions in Kochi, central Kerala. For decades, crossing the junction through the national highway bypass had caused trouble to commuters. The long pending proposal to build a flyover at the junction was approved by the UDF government in June 2014. The project is estimated to have cost Rs 75 crore.

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