Former Kerala PWD Minister Ebrahim Kunju Arrested In Flyover Scam Case, Setback To Congress-Led UDFFormer PWD Minister Ebrahim Kunju

Former Kerala Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Ebrahim Kunju was today (18 November) arrested by sleuths of the State Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) in connection with Palarivattom flyover scam case.

Kunju, who belongs to the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) a dominant ally in Kerala United Democratic Front, was arrested at a hospital in Kochi where he had been admitted to, local media reported.

The arrest followed a drama after VACB police went to his house in Aluva early this morning only to be told that he had been admitted to a Kochi hospital since last night.

The arrest led to a sharp reaction from the UDF, which termed it as a move by the Left Democratic Front to hide its own shortcomings, while the IUML summoned an emergency meeting.

The arrest assumes political significance since local bodies elections are slated in Kerala next month. It is a setback to the UDF, which has been aggressively campaigning against the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) government in the State for its various "omissions and commissions".

It is seen a retaliation move by the Pinarayi Vijayan government and LDF since both are under a cloud over the Kerala gold smuggling case and senior Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s son Bineesh being linked to the Bengaluru drug trafficking case.

On 16 September this year, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced that the state government would rebuild the Palarivattom flyover on National Highway 66 in Ernakulam district.

The flyover was inaugurated on 12 October 2016 and the decision to rebuild the flyover was taken after an expert committee headed by 'Metroman' E Sreedharan recommended its reconstruction to strengthen it.

The expert team found that inferior quality cement was used for construction and the quantity of steel used was inadequate.

The Palarivattom flyover, which was expected to be in use for 100 years, was shut for traffic in May this year after major flaws were detected in it. Initially, it was shut for a month before an indefinite closure was announced.

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