Pinarayi Vijayan calls allegations against him in gold smuggling case 'politically motivated'

Pinarayi Vijayan. Photo: ANI/File

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday termed the allegations against him in the gold smuggling case as "politically motivated" and alleged that there was a nexus between the Congress and BJP in raking up the issue again.

In his nearly an hour long reply in the state assembly to the adjournment motion moved by Congress MLA Shafi Parambil, CM alleged that Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the gold smuggling through diplomatic bags case, was supported by an RSS backed organisation and Congress was not interested in finding out the alleged Sangh Parivar connection in the matter.

After more than three hour long discussions, the House rejected the adjournment motion with a show of hands, which led to loud protests from the opposition which claimed that while the Chief Minister referred to the Sangh Parivar and BJP multiple times in his reply, he never answered their questions, including whether he was ready for a CBI probe in the case.

The CM, in his nearly an hour long reply, said the charges against him in connection with the case were initially raked up in 2020 prior to the 2021 assembly elections and despite strenuous investigations by three major central agencies, nothing incriminating was found against him or his government.

Thereafter, again the issue was raked up this year by a woman, who is not only a key accused in the case, but is also supported by an organisation affiliated with RSS, he claimed.

Therefore, in such a situation an investigation is necessary into the allegations which raise suspicion on the government leadership and other prominent persons, he said and added that a transparent probe would be carried out and there was no reason for the opposition to be apprehensive about it.

He alleged that both the "Congress and BJP were working together" by using the allegations as an "opportunity for political gains".

"They are trying to establish a presence of smoke where there was no fire," the CM said and alleged that Congress was trying to make up for the lack of representation of BJP in the House.

This was evident from the fact that Congress was not asking questions as to why Suresh was being given a job, car, security cover as well as legal help by an organisation which was affiliated to the RSS, he alleged.

The CM contended that such questions would make the BJP and the central government uncomfortable and that is why Congress never asked them.

He also said if smuggling of gold and currency took place, it indicated the failure of central agencies, like customs, as they were under the control of the Centre and not the state government.

However, this aspect too was being ignored by the Congress, he said, adding that it was acting as a shield for the Centre.

CM also expressed his displeasure over his daughter and her company being dragged into the discussions by a member of the opposition, saying that issues regarding the smuggling case should be resolved politically and not by casting aspersions against family members.

Heated arguments were witnessed in the discussions held in the state assembly in the afternoon in connection with the gold smuggling case, with the UDF opposition asking Pinarayi Vijayan why he did not file a defamation suit against Suresh if her recent disclosures about the alleged role of him and his family members were baseless, and urged him to resign from the top office and face probe in the case.

Moving an adjournment motion in the state Assembly over the infamous case, they said CM did not bother to send even a legal notice against the accused whatever startling things she had revealed and claimed that the truth would come out one day anyhow even if "it was covered with a gold vessel."

However, the ruling LDF members raised strong objections against the opposition members levelling charges against CM on the floor of the House, saying the allegations were part of a joint agenda of the Congress and the BJP to destroy the Marxist party and its strong Chief Minister.

Earlier in the day, the Chief Minister agreed to take up the controversial issue for discussion when the UDF moved a notice for adjournment motion over it alleging his government was trying to scuttle the probe.

Parambil, who moved the motion, also posed a series of questions regarding the intervention of controversial journalist Shaj Kiran in the case, his alleged close contact with senior police officers, the removal of the vigilance director in connection with the case and so on.

"Why has the police registered a case against Swapna Sureh for conspiracy over his statement given before a court under the Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code?" he asked and said it might be a first-of-its-kind incident in the country.

Mathew Kuzhalnadan, another Congress MLA, pointed out that CM had said he did not know Suresh when the controversy erupted for the first time two years ago.

"Why did you want to opt for the diplomatic channel to send a parcel to Dubai. Does the state government have no other means to send it?" he asked, referring to the charges of the accused that a package was sent via the UAE Consulate here to Dubai on behalf of CM in 2016 and it was found to contain currency notes.

However, the ruling benches put up a strong defence for CM saying the gold smuggling case cropped up again in the state as part of a 'political conspiracy' by the opposition parties.

V Joy (CPI-M) showed the picture of Shaj Kiran with Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala and BJP veteran Kummanam Rajasekharan to prove his closeness with the opposition party leaders.

He charged that the opposition was raising the issue out of their "intolerance" against the LDF's historic victory for the second consecutive time in the recent Assembly polls.

A N Shamseer suspected a "Congress-RSS propaganda" behind the allegations and tried to corner the opposition by raising the solar cheating case which had rocked the previous Congress-led UDF government led by Oommen Chandy.

During his speech, Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan attacked the government and asked why the Chief Minister failed to understand the move of his principal secretary M Sivasankar when he moved around with Suresh to many places, including abroad. PTI

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