Stepping up its attack on Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan over the gold smuggling scam case, the BJP on Monday alleged that he is using all means to block the investigation as there is a needle of suspicion firmly pointed at him and his family. The BJP’s attack on Vijayan, a CPI(M) leader, came days after Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the case, levelled allegations of some sort of smuggling activities against him and his family. The chief minister had dismissed the allegations as “baseless".
Addressing a press conference at the BJP headquarters here, Union ministers Rajeev Chandrasekhar and V Muraleedharan hit out at Vijayan and alleged that he is using the state machinery to block the investigation in the case. Referring to Vijayan’s letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July 2020, Chandrasekhar said the chief minister had termed this crime a serious one which warranted thorough investigation and assured the state government’s all assistance.
“From that day till today he has done everything to block the investigation in this crime. He used state police to roadblock the central agencies who have expertise (in probing such cases)," Chandrasekhar said. He further said that recent revelations by Swapna Suresh, which were basically sworn statements in a court, were explosive and unprecedented.
It has firmly pointed the needle of suspicion to Chief Minister Vijayan and his family, he said. Muraleedharan alleged that the chief minister, wary of protests, has banned black colour in Kerala.
“Since last week what we are seeing in Kerala is unprecedented. The situation is that black colour is banned in Kerala….height of fascism in the state, Muraleedharan said. He also said why Vijayan is so frightened if he has nothing to hide.
Suresh, a former employee of the UAE consulate, was taken into custody by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) along with another accused Sandeep Nair from Bengaluru on July 11, 2020. The NIA, Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Customs conducted separate probes into the racket that was busted with the seizure of gold worth Rs 15 crore from the diplomatic baggage of the UAE Consulate at Thiruvananthapuram airport on July 5, 2020.
Several people, including M Sivasankar, the former principal secretary to the chief minister, and another former employee of the UAE Consulate — Sarith — were arrested in connection with the case.