Kochi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached assets worth Rs. 8.8 crores belonging to former PWD Secretary T.O. Sooraj. The assets attached by the ED include four vehicles, thirteen properties in different parts of Kerala, and cash amounting to Rs. 23 lakhs.
ED started investigating the case following a finding by the State Vigilance that the senior IAS officer had unaccounted assets worth about eleven crores. Vigilance had informed Lokayukta in 2016 that Sooraj possessed assets totaling three times his declared sources of income. These included apartments and real estate holdings in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Thrissur, Idukki, and Karnataka. Following a court order in a disproportionate assets case in 2015, the government had temporarily seized eighteen assets belonging to T.O. Sooraj worth crores of rupees. Investigations were also carried on his foreign trips.
Incidentally, Sooraj was the Collector of Kozhikode district when the notorious Marad riots occurred. The judicial commission investigating the massacre found that adequate measures were not taken by the District Collector despite receiving early warnings from the State Intelligence about the probability of rioting. Allegations have since been leveled that the phenomenal rise in the former bureaucrat’s assets was linked to the Marad riots. It is also alleged that riots were funded from foreign shores.