Kerala CM attacks Centre over ED action against KIIFB, says FM Nirmala Sitharaman violated poll code
Thiruvananthapuram: After the Enforcement Directorate (ED) registered a case against the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) for external borrowings via Masala Bonds without “permission” from the Union government, the Kerala government has hit back at the central government for violating the poll code enforced in the state ahead of Assembly elections.Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday said that the Model Code of Conduct enforced in Kerala was violated after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharam spoke against the KIIFB during her visit to the state. While addressing the ‘Vijaya Yathra’ in Kochi on February 28, Sitharaman said that the “Kerala budget was prepared and presented and all money is given to Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB). I don't know what budget they are making if all the money is given to KIIFB. What is this organisation?.” Speaking against the Union finance minister, Vijayan today said: "The Model Code of Conduct aims to ensure providing an equal playing field to all parties. But some things are happening here against it. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman came here and made some baseless allegations. She made a speech against KIIFB, which is an initiative for development." The chief minister said that the KIIFB has issued Masala Bonds after obtaining permission from the Reserve Bank of India is following all norms. "State Finance Minister has explained it. I want to make it clear that if anyone attacks us with false allegations, we'll not allow it. We don't have the culture of surrender," he said.Notably, the ED has asked KFIIB’s CEO and Deputy Managing Director to appear before it. Vijayan, however, alleged that attempted are being made to misbehave with KIIFB officials if they refused to give statements. "As she (Sitharaman) knows her allegations didn't make any sense, she has now attempted to attack state government by using the ED. Some officers of central probe agencies are showing overenthusiasm in it," he said."If officials (of KIIFB) called by investigation agencies do not give statements, attempts are being made to misbehave with them and threaten them. They (officials of probe agencies) behave in such a manner as if they would attack physically," Vijayan added.With ANI inputs.