The current political climate surrounding the LDF government and Bineesh Kodiyeri’s arrest warrants a closer look at the materialist philosophies underlying the Communist party. The almost 80-year-old Deshabhimani, a Malayalam newspaper, and organ of the Kerala CPI (M) began like any other socialist venture — on the sacrifice of a commoner. Palora Matha, a destitute old lady, donated her only calf to EMS Namboothiripad to raise funds to start the newspaper. As the decades rolled by, the party has considerably grown in business ventures. What is more impressive are the other products of the party. Three channels under the Malayalam Communications Ltd, a water theme park, and hospitals are part of the “commoner’s party”. As the Enforcement Directorate arrests and questions Bineesh Kodiyeri, the son of CPI (M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, we are given an idea of the degradation of the financial philosophies of the party.
A cursory glance at the Bangalore drug case, for which the ED had arrested Bineesh, reveals that the financial transactions involved in it are in crores. The investigative officials had arrested Anoop Mohammed for peddling drugs, and the latter revealed that he had financial interactions with Bineesh. Recent reports indicate that Anoop referred to Bineesh as “boss” and that the former is only a benamidar for Bineesh. The latter, in his statement to the ED, mentioned that he had only helped Anoop as a friend — by giving more than Rs 6 lakh as financial support. There is still the question of a Rs 50 lakh-transfer to Anoop’s account. Moreover, Anoop has confessed that Bineesh transferred money to start the Hyatt Hotel, through which the drug exchanges happened. All of this seems a bit of a financial stretch for someone from the common man’s party.
However, Bineesh is not this case. He has been named in several criminal and financial cases that have links to politics, business, and the film industry. He had been a Vice President in Malayali billionaire’s business, and this has invited criticism because of Bineesh’s qualification or lack thereof. The fact that he was selected for the post thanks to his status as the son of Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. His father has allegedly protected him several times, and Bineesh had acted with impunity when his father was the Kerala Home Minister.
At one point, the police had reported to the court that Bineesh was absconding when the latter refused to attend the hearing. This led the court to ask whether the Home Minister’s son had separate laws from the commoner. In another incident, according to the media report, Kodiyeri personally appeared to save his son from the police jeep, as the officials were arresting the latter in an incident connected with throwing a petrol bomb at the police. Moreover, Bineesh has been named in many other cases, many of which have been stayed, erased, or settled thanks to his political influence.
His influence also extends to the film industry, in which he has been active since 2005. He has also been part of the Celebrity Cricket League and a member of AMMA (Association of Malayalam Movie Artists). Another important part of him that has greatly entertained social media is the tattoos on him. Apart from the party symbol, he has also tattooed a large image of his father on his back. Bineesh had once said that this tattoo helps him to “move forward without losing his humanity”.
Bineesh has been a member of the party’s student wing and has been a public presence in party meetings . To have represented the party to such a length, and still lose sight of the party philosophies is not Bineesh’s sin alone. Many have been accused of it, especially by other party members. Looking back, the party central committee had criticised the practice of party members using their position of power to amass wealth. In recent years, the state party plenum said, “There are many party leaders who turn a blind eye to their members using their powers to amass wealth. This deliberate ignorance is equal to doing the crime.” Bineesh’s situation and Kodiyeri’s efforts to help his son throughout the years is indicative of the philosophical degradation that plagues the party. However, they are not the lone perpetrators.