VD Satheesan and Pinarayi Vijayan. Photo: ANI, Mathrubhumi Archives
Kochi: Kerala Leader of Opposition VD Satheesan on Saturday said that Pinarayi Vijayan should "stay away from the Chief Minister's chair" while he is accused of being involved in a gold smuggling case.
Alleging that attempts have been made to reach a compromise with Swapna Suresh, the prime accused of the case, the LoP said that the state government and the CPM are moving forward by taking rule of law in their hands.
"CM Pinarayi should be prepared to investigate the statement. He should stay away from the Chief Minister's chair," he said.
On Tuesday, Swapna Suresh, the main accused of the gold smuggling case gave a confidential statement under section 164 (recording of confessions and statements) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) alleging the CM's involvement.
Amidst the political furore, the state government has appointed a 12-member team led by the Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) to probe Swapna for giving the 164 statement against the CM.
Swapna had also claimed that she was also threatened by the CM's mediator to withdraw her statement.
"If there is a defamation allegation against the Chief Minister, they can approach the Sessions Court. They were not ready for that either. Without doing any of this, the ADGP has been charged with a case that did not even stand on the veranda of the court," LoP said.
He further added that if convicted, Swapna can face up to seven years in prison.
The Kerala gold smuggling case pertains to the smuggling of gold in the state through diplomatic channels. It had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crore smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage was busted by the customs department in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5, 2019.
Swapna Suresh alleged that in 2016, M Sivasankar, the former Principal Secretary to the Kerala CM, had asked her to send baggage to Dubai which belonged to Vijayan. However, when the bag was brought to the consulate, it was found that it contained currencies and the entire gold smuggling business had begun from then.
The case is being probed by the Enforcement Directorate, National Investigative Agency (NIA) and the customs department. (ANI)