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Last Updated Thursday August 24 2017 10:20 AM IST

Cash-for-affiliation scam may be probed by other agencies

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Thiruvananthapuram: The former BJP leaders accused of accepting bribes for granting affiliation for medical colleges in Kerala may face probes from crime branch or other agencies empowered to probe economic offenses. The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) may hand over the probe to other investigating agencies if it fails to get hold of evidences that come under its ambit.

The BJP’s Kerala unit was rocked by allegations that some of the leaders had demanded Rs 5.6 crore from a medical college management with a promise to grant affiliation. An internal report prepared by BJP vice-president Sreesan and secretary A.K. Nazeer showed that R.S. Vinod, the convener of the party’s cooperative cell, sent the money to Satheesh Nair, a middleman based in Delhi.

The party was pushed to a corner when the report leaked out. The VACB registered a case into the scam based on a complaint by CPM leader A.J. Sukarno, a former member of the Thiruvananthapuram corporation council.

The VACB has summoned Satheesh Nair to appear before it on August 24. The middleman is believed to hold key information related to the scam. The agency will decide on the future course of investigation after interrogating Nair, sources said.

“The VACB has its limitations. We are yet to obtain evidence to bring the accused under the ambit of our investigation. The case will come under the VACB’s authority only if Satheesh Nair admits to receiving the bribe. Or else, we will have to hand over the investigation to other agencies. We do not have the authority to probe economic offenses,” a top officer told Onmanorama.

The agency has already questioned Vinod, Sreesan, Nazeer and the owner and staff of the medical college. None of them has corroborated the allegations of bribe. Vinod said that he had handed over Rs 25 lakh as consultancy fee and he had no monetary gain from the transaction.

BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan has also been summoned by the VACB but the party is exploring the legal options available to it.

Read more: Latest Kerala news | No respite from elephant raids: wild herd returns when kumkis withdraw

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