Kerala CM may have been participant in gold smuggling case: Muraleedharan

Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan on Sunday alleged that BJP has “grave suspicions and concerns” that Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan may be a participant in the gold smuggling case, based on the conduct of his government in the matter.

The statement was in response to a query from a reporter as to whether BJP believes that Vijayan has any involvement in the smuggling case subsequent to revelations made against him by a key accused in the matter.

He said that this belief emanates from the fact that the Left government’s General Administration Department, which comes under the CM, had allegedly unlawfully issued diplomatic identities to UAE consul employees.

The Union Minister further alleged that the kind of relationship that the CM had with the consul employees was unheard of in other states where such consulates exist and questioned the need for such contacts with employees of the UAE consulate here.

He told the media that the Left government has taken steps which have ‘posed obstacles’ in the probe being carried out in the case by investigating agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

This was evident from the fact the ED officials had to resort to litigation against the Commission of Inquiry set up by the state government, he claimed.

Such attempts by the state would distract and dishearten the officials from going ahead with the probe, he further claimed and questioned the Left government’s intentions behind such steps when it itself was contending there should be a fair probe.

He also clarified that while he never said Kerala Police and its Crime Branch were incompetent, they were unable to perform their duties properly due to the alleged poltical intereference of the state government.

Muraleedharan said as long as Narendra Modi was Prime Minister, no one involved in smuggling or corruption would be able to escape from the clutches of law and there would be no settlement of such cases.

He also said that Vijayan should come forward and respond to the charges against him, his family member and LDF MLA K T Jaleel by Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the gold smuggling case, in her recent disclosures.

Strongly reacting to the allegations, the Chief Minister, in a statement, had said “unsubstantiated allegations have been made through the media from some quarters for narrow political reasons” and this was “part of some political agenda”.

“Such an agenda was rejected by the people earlier. After a break, the old things are repeated by the accused in the case. There is not even a shred of fact in it”, Vijayan had said.

Suresh was released from jail in November last year, 16 months after her arrest in the sensational gold smuggling case.

A former employee of the UAE Consulate here, she was taken into custody by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) along with another accused Sandeep Nair from Bengaluru on July 11, 2020.

The NIA, Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Customs conducted a separate probe into the racket that was busted with the seizure of gold worth Rs 15 crore from the diplomatic baggage of the UAE Consulate at Thiruvananthapuram airport on July 5, 2020.

Several people, including M Sivasankar, the former Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister and another ex-employee of the UAE Consulate here, Sarith P S, were arrested in connection with the case.

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