V. K. Ebrahim Kunju is an Indian politician and former Minister for Public Works of the Government of Kerala. In 2020, he was arrested by the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) in connection with the Palarivattom flyover scam.
V. K. Ebrahim Kunju was born on Tuesday, 20 May 1952 (age 70 years: as of 2022) in Kongorpilly, Ernakulam, Kerala. He completed SSLC and made his entry into politics as a student leader of the Muslim Students Federation (MSF) and later led the youth wing of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML)’s Muslim Youth League (Youth League); he became one of the prominent leaders of the IUML in Kerala.
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
V. K. Ebrahim Kunju hails from a Malayali Muslim family in Kongorpilly, Ernakulam, Kerala.
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name was V. U. Khader, and his mother’s name was Chithumma.
Wife & Children
V. K. Ebrahim Kunju is married to Nadeera, and they have three children; Adv. Abdul Gafoor, Abbas and Anwar. His son Adv. Abdul Gafoor, contested in the 2021 Kerala Legislative Assembly elections as an Indian Union Muslim League candidate from the Kalamassery Assembly Constituency in Ernakulam, Kerala. V. K. Ebrahim Kunju represented the Kalamassery Assembly constituency between 2011 and 2021.
“Periyar Crescent”, By-Lane – 3, Siva Temple Road, Thottakkattukara, Aluva, Ernakulam – 683 108.
V. K. Ebrahim Kunju started his political career as a Muslim Students Federation (MSF) member, the student wing of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) in Kerala; then he joined the Muslim Youth League. Kunju became one of the prominent leaders of the Muslim League in Kerala. He was a member of the Kerala Legislative Assembly consecutively for 20 years between 2001 and 2021, during which he was given ministerial charges of various portfolios in the State government.
V. K. Ebrahim Kunju during his Legislative Assembly election campaign
Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA)
V. K. Ebrahim Kunju was an IUML candidate in the 2001 Kerala Legislative Assembly election; Indian Union Muslim League was part of the United Democratic Front (UDF) which won the election and formed the government. He represented the Mattancherry Assembly constituency in Ernakulam district, Kerala; he won his debut election defeating the independent candidate M. A. Thomas, MLA representing the constituency. The Ice cream parlour sex scandal of 2005 resulted in the resignation of veteran IUML leader, the then Minister for Industries, P. K. Kunhalikutty. V. K. Ebrahim Kunju was assigned by the party leadership to represent Muslim League in the UDF ministry. He took over ministerial responsibilities of the Industries and Social Welfare portfolios on 6 January 2005 and remained in office until 2006. V. K. Ebrahim Kunju emerged victorious in the 2006 Kerala Assembly election against M. C. Josephine of CPI(M) and retained the Mattancherry constituency. In 2011, he was fielded by Muslim League at the Kalamassery Assembly constituency and V. K. Ebrahim Kunju defeated CPI(M)’s K. Chandran Pillai. He was named Minister for Public Works in the UDF-led, second Oommen Chandy ministry; V. K. Ebrahim Kunju assumed the office on 23 May 2011 and completed his tenure on 20 May 2016.
V. K. Ebrahim Kunju with Oommen Chandy
Cases where Cognizance Taken
- 1 charge related to Punishment (IPC Section-143)
- 1 charge related to Punishment for Rioting (IPC Section-147)
- 1 charge related to Disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant (IPC Section-188)
- 1 charge related to Danger or obstruction in a public way or line of navigation (IPC Section-283)
- 1 charge related to Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of an offence committed in prosecution of a common object (IPC Section-149)
Palarivattom Flyover Scam
The Palarivattam flyover scandal during the second Oommen Chandy cabinet (2011–16); is considered one of the most scandalous incidents in the history of the Kerala Public Works Department. The Palarivattom flyover scam refers to a poorly built infrastructure at the pipeline junction in the National Highway Bypass 66 in Kochi, the work of the flyover started in 2014; during the second Oommen Chandy ministry, and V. K. Ebrahim Kunju was the then minister for Public Works. The flyover was commissioned and opened to the public on October 16, 2016.
Stone laying ceremony of the Palarivattom flyover
The total construction cost of the flyover was estimated to be around Rs 47 crores; in May 2019, the flyover was shut down with the development of cracks on the surface. The state government of Kerala appointed Delhi Metro’s E Sreedharan, concrete expert Prof Mahesh Tandon and IIT Madras professor, P Alagusundara Murthy, to inspect the flyover and submit their findings. Some reports suggest that 17 of the 19 spans and 97 of the 102 girders had cracks; they suggested demolishing all the spans and to rebuild them, as some posed serious threats. A study on the flyover submitted to the National Highways Authority of India in 2018 revealed that cracks were found in the 1,2,3,7,10 and 12th pier caps. The committee inspected the flyover and reported the weak stability of the flyover and notified that the flyover needed to be demolished and rebuilt. The Palarivattom flyover was supposed to last 100 years, the Vigilance & Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) conducted a site visit and evaluated that the construction was substandard and caused loss to the public exchequer. While hearing the case, the Kerala High Court, associated the Palarivattom flyover with ‘Panchavadi Paalam’, a 1984 political satire film directed by K. G. George, which revolved around the story of corrupted politicians from a village and how they joined hands to loot money by building a bridge which fell on the very day of its commission. The VACB findings suggested, V. K. Ebrahim Kunju, illegally sanctioned an amount of 8.25 crores as mobilisation advance, fully knowing that no mobilisation advance was allowable as per the existing rules and as per the tender conditions; there were allegations that the contractor got monetary benefit because of this. VACB’s investigation revealed another financial fraud related to the Palarivattom flyover scam; the Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala Ltd (RBDCK) and Public Works Department (PWD) had written off Rs 6.24 crore which the contractor should have submitted to the state government as a performance security deposit; on top of them illegally sanctioning the mobilisation advance. On 29 February 2020, he was interrogated by VACB, and on 9 March 2020, vigilance raided his house. V. K. Ebrahim Kunju was arrested by the Vigilance & Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) on 18 November 2020, after the Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan gave sanctions to investigate the allegations of corruption against him. He was remanded in judicial custody for 14 days but was allowed to continue at a private hospital in Kochin from where he received treatment for Multiple myeloma cancer. V. K. Ebrahim Kunju’s arrest was recorded at the hospital and he was named the fifth accused in the scam. After rejecting his bail plea multiple times, the High Court of Kerala granted bail to V. K. Ebrahim Kunju on 08 January 2021 subjected to certain bail conditions; the decision to release him on bail was considering his health situation. Medical reports submitted by his lawyers indicated that he had terminal Multiple myeloma cancer and required medical attention. The Palarivattom flyover scam was one of the main talking points during the 2021 Kerala Legislative assembly election used by the Left Democratic Front in the Kalamassery Assembly constituency. V. K. Ebrahim Kunju, who represented the constituency for 10 years between 2011 and 2021, decided not to contest in the 2021 Kerala Legislative Assembly election and his son, Adv. Abdul Gafoor was announced as the IUML candidate for the constituency. Some reports suggest that V. K. Ebrahim Kunju’s candidacy was opposed by a faction within the Congres and the Muslim League; however, V. K. Ebrahim Kunju rejected the rumours citing ill health as the reason for his withdrawal. The 2021 Kalamassery Assembly constituency election marked LDF’s first win in the constituency since its inception. P. Rajeev of CPI(M), symbolised his victory as the people’s victory over the culture of corruption via democratic means.
In 2019, the Kerala High Court ordered the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to conduct a probe against V. K. Ebrahim Kunju after Girish Babu, a Kalammaserry native filed a public interest litigation petition accusing the former minister of money laundering. Gireesh accused Ebrahim Kunju of depositing black money worth about Rs 10 crores into the bank account of IUML’s mouthpiece Chandrika a daily newspaper. It was accused that the money was deposited around the time when the Centre banned the high-value currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 (November 2016). It was alleged that the money was related to the Palarivattom flyover scam. The Indian Union Muslim League’s leadership defended V. K. Ebrahim Kunju, rejected the allegations as baseless and claimed that the transactions were part of the routine long-term subscriber funds collected by the newspaper management. Girish, in May 2020, filed a petition stating that V. K. Ebrahim Kunju pressurised him to withdraw the case and offered a sum of Rs 5 Lakhs.
- He received the Keli Kerala Award in 2013 for best performances in the literary, cultural, political and social sectors.
- V. K. Ebrahim Kunju won the Kerala Ratna Puraskaram in 2012 (Best Minister)
V. K. Ebrahim Kunju’s estimated income for the financial year 2009-2010 was estimated to be Rs 94,540.
Assets & Properties
- Deposits in Banks, Financial Institutions and Non-Banking Financial Companies: Rs. 6,08,816
- Bonds, Debentures and Shares in companies: Rs. 3000
- LIC or other insurance Policies: Rs. 13,00,000
- Motor Vehicles: Rs. 5,90,000
- Non-Agricultural Land: Rs. 14,00,000
- Commercial Buildings: Rs. 30,00,000
- Residential Buildings: Rs. 1,36,00,000
Note: The given estimates of movable and immovable assets are according to the year 2021. It excludes the assets owned by his wife and dependents (minor).
In 2011, V. K. Ebrahim Kunju’s net worth was estimated to be Rs 2,05,07,816.
Note: It excludes the net worth of his wife and dependents (minors).
- V. K. Ebrahim Kunju loves reading and during his leisure time, he likes site-seeing and boating as recreation.
- He has served as the Ernakulam District Secretary/General Secretary of the Indian Union Muslim League for 25 years.
- V. K. Ebrahim Kunju was diagnosed with Multiple myeloma cancer and underwent chemotherapy in 2020.
- He was the Chairman of Forest Industries( Travancore) Limited (a Kerala government establishment) during 1993-1996.