With one of the top most officials attached to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's office - M.Sivasankar - now behind bars, heartbeats of C.M.Ravindran - the closest aide of the CM - seems to have increased as the Enforcement Directorate officials, probing the Life Mission bribery case, appears to be heading towards him.
Though only an assistant private secretary, Ravindran is the last word in Vijayan's office.
But the chat messages between Swapna Suresh (prime accused in the gold smuggling and Life Mission bribery cases) and Ravindran accessed by the ED have brought him into public domain.
Analysis of the chat reveals that the two were extremely close.
On Friday, the ED summoned U.V.Jose, the then Life Mission CEO and a now retired IAS official, who is learnt to have told the probe officials that he had no clue of the agreement in Vijayan's pet project 'Life Mission's Wadakkanchery project.
The project intended to provide homes to the poor who lost their houses in the devastating floods of 2018.
The money to build the project came from a UAE based charity organisation and Jose had no clue of the details of the project, but all he got was a few hours to go through the contract details and was asked to sign it, he said.
Jose and Sivasankar were questioned together on Friday at the probe agency's Kochi office. Chat messages between Swapna and Ravindran surfaced after it.
When the issue surfaced in 2020, Vijayan had categorically denied the role of his office.
Initially, Vijayan had even denied knowing Swapna only to change his statement later. Now, Jose and the chartered accountant of Sivasankar- Venugopala Iyer have confessed before the ED that they just did what they were asked to do.
Against the backdrop of their statements and the chat messages of Ravindran and Swapna's revelations a few days back, the finger now points towards Ravindran and questioning will bring forth the involvement (if any) of Vijayan, his wife, daughter and son, as stated by Swapna.
Since the past two days, the TV news channels are airing an old video clip of Vijayan in an animated mood on being questioned about the likelihood of probe agencies questioning a minister and also the chief minister, when this case first surfaced in 2020.
Then, the ED had failed to get chat messages of Swapna, Ravindran or Sivasankar, but now they are armed with explosive digital evidence giving sleepless nights to Ravindran. If the central agency summons him, it might make Vijayan restless too.
Now all eyes are on ED, as it has to produce Sivasankar before the court on Monday afternoon.
In all likelihood, it will seek his custody for a few more days, as it needs time to corroborate the digital evidence with the statements of those being questioned.