Centre, State should come clean why Kerala CM's UAE trip not sanctioned: Congress

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Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress on Thursday asked both the Centre and State to explain the reason why the upcoming trip of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to UAE was not given the green signal by the Centre.

State Congress president K Sudhakaran said that in his recent trip to Kerala, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech at Kochi mentioned that while the Centre is busy trying to find markets for Kerala's produce abroad, authorities here are busy smuggling gold.

"We wish to know if this is the reason why Vijayan was denied permission to travel to the UAE to take part in an investment meet organised by the UAE government. What's baffling is Vijayan is totally silent after permission for him to travel was denied. Under normal circumstances, Vijayan would have gone hammer and tongs against the Centre. Moreover, if the Centre has denied him permission without a valid reason, then it is not tenable, and it should register a strong protest," said Sudhakaran.

Vijayan along with PWD minister PA Mohammed Riyas and top officials were to visit the UAE for the investor meet beginning next week. CM and others had a busy schedule in the UAE as a series of meetings was planned but now with the permission being denied, all those meetings have been postponed.

"Incidentally this is probably the first time ever that a Kerala chief minister has been denied permission and hence both the Centre and State have to come clean and some have started to think that the issue is serious too because not long ago Swapna Suresh (the prime accused in the gold smuggling case) had alleged that a bag which Vijayan had forgotten to take with him on his UAE visit in 2016 December was sent later and when it was scanned it was found that it was currencies. At the moment there are probes going on here and PM Modi himself mentioned about it and hence authorities should make it clear, the reason why Vijayan's visit was denied," added Sudhakaran.

"Moreover, one fails to understand how will Vijayan be able to bring investments to Kerala by participating in an investment meet organised by the UAE government. Doubts are there in the wake of fresh allegations regarding the AI camera installation and the K-Fon projects as names of close relatives have surfaced in these allegations and those people have business interests in the Middle East also and hence would this be a reason for permission being denied," asked Sudhakaran.

With IANS inputs

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