Kochi:President Droupadi Murmu’s maiden visit to Kerala courted a controversy following media reports that she will stay at Hyatt Regency, owned by Lulu Group Chairman and Managing Director Yusuf Ali MA, who has been allegedly served two notices by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) asking him to appear before it in connection with some cases.
Responding to the issue, social activist and Hindu Aikya Vedi leader Swami Dr Bhargava Ram has said in a Facebook post that “It is inappropriate for the President to stay in a hotel owned by a person who has been served by two notices by the ED for questioning in some serious cases.”
“Rashtrapati Bhavan cannot be swayed by anyone’s personal or business interests. Central agencies should urgently intervene in this regard,” he added.
Meanwhile, the name of Yusuf Ali was revealed in an alleged whatsapp chat between gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh and former pricipal secretary M Sivasankaran who is in the ED custody now in connection with the Life Mission Scam in which the ED served its second notice to the chief minister’s additional private secretary CM Raveendran directing him to appear for it for interrogation on March 7.
According to various sources, the President Droupadi Murmu will be in Kerala on March 16 and 17 to attend a few programmes.
She will visit India’s indigenously built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, on March 16 morning and attend a naval ceremony at the INS Dronacharya at 4 pm on the same day. Later, she will leave for Thiruvananthapuram, and stay at Hyatt Regency.
On March 17, she will inaugurate the 25th anniversary of ‘Kudumbashree’ at Kavadiyar Uday Palace Convention Center at 12 noon. She will also inaugurate two other schemes of the state government at the same function. After the event, she will proceed to Lakshadweep.
During the Presidential elections in July 2022, Droupadi Murmu has created political ripples in Kerala after she received an unexpected ‘one’ vote from the 140-member Kerala Legislative Assembly where BJP has no member. It was unclear who voted for Murmu from Kerala and the cross vote triggered hot political debates on those days.