BJP takes gold smuggling case to national level

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Raising the gold smuggling through diplomatic baggage and other allegations against the LDF government at the national level, Union Minister V Muraleedharan on Friday demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for his alleged links with the accused. Addressing a press conference at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi, Muraleedharan said investigative agencies found out that Swapna Suresh, accused in the gold smuggling case, had received Rs 1 crore in commission. An inquiry by the CBI was necessitated since the case constituted Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) violation, he said.

The Union minister said the state government, which had initially invited central agencies for an inquiry, has now gone to court against the CBI. “The state government says CBI does not have the authority to investigate. This shows that those involved in smuggling gold are hand in glove with those in power,” Muraleedharan said.

He said the gold smuggling case is directly linked to the Chief Minister’s Office. Citing the Enforcement Directorate’s chargesheet, Muraleedharan said the agency has stated that the links of the gold smuggling accused do not end with the CM’s former principal secretary but it goes much beyond that.  Muraleedharan cited the fire incident in the Secretariat and the claim that no CCTV visuals could be obtained from the CM’s Office and his residence as proof of attempts to destroy evidence in the case. 

In other states, the principal secretary to the chief minister deals with the Chief Minister’s Office alone. But in Kerala, Sivasankar was also the IT secretary. Muraleedharan said it was well known that relatives of the CM had stakes in the IT sector.