Published On: Wed, Jul 8th, 2020

We are ready for any probe into gold smuggling, Centre has to decide: Pinarayi Vijayan

Thiruvananthapuram: As Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan came under fire in the gold smuggling case involving the former PRO of the UAE consulate here and a Kerala woman on Tuesday, Vijayan said he is ready for any probe and it is the Centre’s call.

We have no say in it, we are ready for any probe and the Centre can decide

“We have no say in it, we are ready for any probe and the Centre can decide whichever agency should probe this,” said Vijayan.

Swapna Suresh, a high-profile consultant with the Kerala IT department, is reportedly on the run after her name emerged in the investigation of the gold smuggling scandal which links her with top smugglers operating from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

On Tuesday senior IAS officer and secretary to Vijayan, M Sivasankar was removed from office and in the evening was divested of the IT secretary’s post too.

Sivasankar is currently in the dock and Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding a probe by the CBI or Enforcement Directorate (ED) to unravel the gold smuggling case in which the UAE consulate also figures.

Reacting to Sivasankar being booted out of the posts, Vijayan said the Left is a “special breed” and the opposition Congress-led UDF can never match the ruling alliance.

“The Congress opposition is trying to create what happened when they were in office during the solar scam (when a woman named Saritha Nair dealing in solar panels had alleged links with three staff of then Chief Minister Oommen Chandy) and hence they think of that. But we are of a different breed. We do not get soiled with such things,” said Vijayan.

“We ordered a judicial probe and just see what he (Vijayan) is doing now. I have nothing against anyone as I am a strong believer in God and truth will always triumph,” said Chandy.

State Congress president and former Union minister Mullapally Ramachandran demanded a probe under COFEPOSA and demanded Vijayan also should be covered under it.

Earlier in the day speaking to the media Chennithala said Vijayan now fears that fingers are being pointed at him and hence he has made his secretary the scapegoat.

Chennithala’s demand came soon after Sivasankar was removed as the CM’s secretary and later applied for long leave. Vijayan apart from holding the Home portfolio also heads the IT department.

Senior BJP leader PK Krishnadas also came down heavily on Vijayan and alleged he is continuing to protect Sivasankar.

“Sivasankar was only removed as Vijayan’s secretary, while he continues to hold the IT secretary post and this is because he is getting lot of support from Vijayan’s daughter (who owns an IT firm). The Special Branch police had informed Vijayan about Swapna’s not too clean record as she had a case against her, but all this was overlooked and she was appointed in a high paying job with practically no qualifications for such a job,” Krishnadas claimed.

The UAE consulate, however, denied any involvement of its personnel in this case and said that the person who is in custody was dismissed from the consulate much earlier.

On Sunday, the Air Customs attached to the Thiruvananthapuram airport had made a seizure of 30 kgs of gold that arrived on a cargo flight and was kept in a warehouse here for release. The baggage had arrived from Dubai and is understood to have been marked to the UAE consulate which has its office in the heart of the state capital.

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