Controversy in the Rs400-crore scam in Malabar Cements got further concretised with the death of the key witness, Teena, wife of the whistle blower and former company secretary V Saseendran who along with his two minor sons was found hanging in their house in January 2011. Another prime witness Satheendra Kumar died in a mysterious accident in Coimbatore in February 2013.
Teena (52) died on Saturday at the Coimbatore after having suddenly taken ill a few days ago. Her family members suspect foul play and have said they would be taking it up with the authorities.
It was only a few weeks ago that there was the controversy over the files relating to the scam went missing from Kerala High Court, just before the case was to be taken up for hearing. A vigilance inquiry was ordered into the matter.
Teena, working in a private firm in Kochi, took ill suddenly early this week and rushed home. But her condition worsened and she was in an unconscious state when rushed to the Kovai Medical Centre where she died on Saturday afternoon.
Her relatives affirm that she did not have ailments and there was a mystery in her sudden illness that proved fatal. This needed to be probed, they said.
Kerala Janapaksham leader PC George, MLA, was the first to react saying that there was `a sackful’ of controversies behind the death aimed at silencing prime witnesses and this needed thorough investigation.
She was the prime witness in the Malabar Cements case where the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probed the scam.
Sasidharan, who had opposed wrong-doings and corruption in contracts of the company, was found mysteriously hanging in his house along with his two minor sons on January 24, 2011. There was a fourth noose which Teena had said was meant for her.
After the intervention of the action council where Sasidharan’s father was part, the CBI was brought in probe the matter and leading businessman VM Radhakrishnan, also known as `sack’ Radhakishnan and having close links with the ruling CPM, former managing director Sundaramoorthy and personal assistant Suryanarayanan were accused of abetting suicide in the chargesheet.
However, the court returned the chargesheet after which a fresh one was submitted where Radhakrishnan was the accused and the others had turned approvers. Teena had testified that it was not suicide but murder.
In between, the other prime witness and former employee Sathindrakumar died in a road accident near the Ukkadam bus stand in Coimbatore on February 11, 2013, which added to the controversy.
Sasidharan’s brother moved the High Court against the findings of the CBI and wanted a fresh probe. But vital files regarding the case have now gone missing as the case is to be taken up in court.
The sudden death of Teena for whom a fourth noose had been readied, as she had claimed, at a time when the case was to be taken up leaves a trail of controversy in a scam where big names with big connections are involved.