Customs Summons Kerala’s Key Left Leader’s Wife

Thiruvananthapuram: The Customs Department on Saturday served a notice to former Kerala CPI-M state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s wife Vinodhini asking her to appear before it on March 10.

The notice has been served in connection with the now-infamous missing iPhones that were alleged to have been given by Santhosh Eapen, one of the beneficiaries in the controversial Life Mission flat project.

The department during its investigation has found that Vinodhini was using one of the iPhones till July last year before the infamous Kerala Gold smuggling case surfaced.

Eapen heads Unitac Builders, which got the contract to build the Life Mission flat project at Wadakkancherry in Thrissur.

In an affidavit filed in the high court, Eapen sought to quash the FIR that mentioned that Swapna Suresh (prime accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case) had asked him to buy five iPhones to be given to VIP guests, who have been called to participate in the UAE national day celebrations held here in December 2019.

Trouble began after rumours started doing rounds that Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala was given one of the smartphones, but he came out sharply and threatened legal action against those who were trying to malign him.

At that time, while it was identified all who were given the devices, but the owner of the most expensive iPhone was not identified.

Now the Customs has found that Vinodhini was using the Rs 1.13-lakh worth iPhone.

It was Congress legislator Anil Akkara, who unravelled the scam and approached the Kerala High Court for a CBI probe, which was given green signal.

Balakrishnan had to bow out as Secretary of the CPI-M, last year after his younger son Bineesh Kodiyeri was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in Bengaluru, after his close friend was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau. Bineesh continues to be in jail.

His elder son Binoy Kodiyeri is also entangled in a case where a woman from Bihar has approached the Mumbai High Court stating that her child is the son of Binoy, who is already married and has a family.