NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday launched a fresh attack on Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan over the gold smuggling case, alleging his and his family’s direct involvement and accusing him of intimidating the investigating agency.
The case pertains to the smuggling of gold through diplomatic channels.
Addressing media persons here, Union ministers Rajeev Chandrasekhar and V Muraleedharan alleged direct involvement of Chief Minister Vijayan, his office and his family.
“The recent revelations by (main accused) Swapna Suresh, in a sworn statement before a court, are explosive and unprecedented, and have firmly fixed the needle of suspicion on the chief minister and his family,” said Chandrasekhar, Union minister of state for skill development and entrepreneurship.
He further alleged, “People linked to the establishment tried to meet this lady (Suresh) and settle this matter. Money was offered, threats were proffered and a carrot and stick approach was adopted to silence this woman.”
Chandrasekhar said that the CPI (M) leader wrote a letter before the last state Assembly election to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, terming the offence “extremely serious” in nature, demanding a thorough investigation and assured all help from the state government. “From that date till today, Vijayan has done everything to block the investigation,” the BJP leader added.
Raising a series of questions against the CM, Chandrasekhar said, “We call upon him, in the interest of India and Kerala, to come clean. He must stop intimidating the process of investigation and permit a fair investigation.”
Last week, Suresh said that the chief minister, his wife, daughter, MLA KT Jaleel and several other senior officials were involved in anti-social and anti-national activities linked to the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.
Ever since her remarks, protests have intensified across Kerala, with opposition parties, including the BJP and the Congress, demanding Vijayan’s resignation.
In view of the protest, the security cover for CM Vijayan has been thickened and black clothes have been banned from his public events, according to local media.
“The situation is such that black colour is now banned in Kerala. Even media persons who wore black masks were asked to remove them. We generally carry black umbrellas but the police have now started using coloured umbrellas because the CM does not want to see black anywhere,” claimed Union minister V Muraleedharan, who hails from Kerala.
Accusing the CPI (M) of attempting to muzzle protests, the BJP leader asked, “Why is he frightened so much if he has not something to hide?”
The Left Democratic Front (LDF) has accused Central investigating agencies of trying to frame innocent people on the behest of the BJP and set up an enquiry commission to investigate the same.
“It is unheard of. Congress is playing a friendly match with CPI (M). In Delhi, they are raising questions on a summons to Rahul Gandhi. In Kerala, they are questioning why ED is not questioning the CM.”
The Kerala gold smuggling case came into light on July 5, 2020, when 30 kilograms of 24-carat gold was seized by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs at Thiruvananthapuram Airport from a diplomatic bag that was meant to be delivered to the UAE Consulate.