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Kerala Govt Will Not Protect Anyone in Gold Smuggling Case: CPI(M) State Secretary

File photo of senior CPI(M) leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

File photo of senior CPI(M) leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

He alleged the opposition Congress-led UDF and the BJP were attacking the LDF government over the issue as they fear that the ongoing probe by the central agencies would "boomerang" on them.

CPI(M) Kerala unit chief Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Friday asserted the party led LDF government would not protect anyone in the gold smuggling case and the suspension of a senior IAS officer was a proof of it.

He alleged the opposition Congress-led UDF and the BJP were attacking the LDF government over the issue as they fear that the ongoing probe by the central agencies would "boomerang" on them if it proceeded in the "right direction".

In a Facebook post, Balakrishnan said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan removed M Sivasankar as his principal secretary and IT secretary immediately after allegations were raised against him that he had links with a key accused woman in the bid to smuggle the gold through diplomatic baggage.

He was suspended on Thursday after following due procedure, including perusing a report filed by a panel headed by the state Chief Secretary, the CPI-M leader said.

Apparently responding to questions raised by the opposition earlier on why the government was hesitant to suspend the officer, he said regardless of the nature of the allegations, certain procedures had to be followed in order to take action against a senior IAS officer.

"As part of the procedure, a Chief Secretary-level inquiry was ordered and the state government waited for its report. It was a logical and a legal step in this regard. This makes it clear that the state government will not protect any officials or others who have fallen into their own pits," Balakrishnan said.

He said Sivasankar had earlier worked in key positions during the previous UDF governments and was appointed as the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister in the Left government considering him as an able administrator.

"However, the chief minister removed him from the position of the IT secretary as soon as an allegation was raised against him," Balakrishnan said.

He also sought to turn the tables on the opposition, saying they have been targeting the Vijayan government out of fear that the case might come to haunt them.

"Both the UDF and the BJP fear that if the current probe by the central agencies goes in the right direction, it will boomerang on them. That's why they are attacking the government," Balakrishnan said without elaborating.

The state government has been under fire ever since the Customs officials seized the gold worth around Rs 15 crore

from a baggage at the airport here as Swapna Suresh, a prime accused in the case, was found working in the state IT department and alleged to have close links with Sivasankar.

The action against Sivasankar came a day after he was summoned by Customs officials and grilled for nearly nine hours lasting till around 2 am on Wednesday morning to find out if he had used his office to provide any help to the accused.

As the Customs suspected a smuggling syndicate had misused the name of a person in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) consulate and sent the baggage addressed to him, the probe in the case was entrusted with the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

It has booked Sarith, Swapna Suresh, Sandeep Nair and Fareed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

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