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Kerala CM’s daughter terms SFIO probe against her firm ‘illegal’ and violative of principles of natural justice

T. Veena, the daughter of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, has challenged the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) probe against her IT firm Exalogic Solutions Private Limited on the ground that it violated the provisions of law and the principles of natural justice.

In her petition filed before the Karnataka High Court, Ms. Veena contended that the SFIO investigation under Section 212 of the Companies Act cannot be ordered before the conclusion of the investigation under Section 210. The court is likely to consider the petition on Monday.

The Central government had ordered the probe on January 31 to examine the alleged violation of rules and regulations in the transactions between Cochin Minerals And Rutile Ltd (CMRL) and Exalogic.

Incidentally, a report of the Interim Board for Settlement under the Central Board of Taxes had found that CMRL had paid Exalogic ₹1.72 crore as a consultancy fee. The CMRL was also found to have made payments to politicians, political parties, police officials, media houses, and journalists.

The report had ignited a political firestorm in the State . Mr. Vijayan and the CPI (M) had a tough time distancing the party and the government from Ms. Veena and her firm.

In her petition, Ms. Veena contended that the Central Government must form an opinion for a probe against a company under Section 210 of the Act for investigation. An opinion must also be formed warranting the SFIO investigation under Section 212. However, the SFIO probe was ordered even before the investigation under Section 210 concluded, which amounted to gross abuse of power. The Central Government is precluded from invoking the jurisdiction under Section 212 unless the investigation under Section 210 is completed and a report prepared, she argued.

She further stated that she was kept in the dark about the allegations against her. No copies of the probe order were also shared, which violated the Constitutional right to the protection of life and personal liberty and principles of natural justice. Ms. Veena also complained that her legal rights and remedies were curtailed through the denial of copies of the order and information based on which the probes were ordered.

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