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Congress Says Need to Probe Role of Kerala CM's Office, Question Vijayan in Gold Smuggling Case

File photos of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan and Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala.

File photos of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan and Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala.

Chennithala said Reports about the close involvement of top bureaucrats at CM's Office with the key accused in gold smuggling "have exposed its inefficiency" and rampant corruption prevalent.

Senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala on Sunday demanded that the role of the Office of Chief Minister in the gold sensational smuggling case needs to be probed and Pinarayi Vijayan should be questioned. "Time is ripe for investigating the role of CMO in the smuggling case and even questioning the chief minister himself," Chennithala said.

Reports about the close involvement of top bureaucrats at CM's Office with the key accused in gold smuggling "have exposed its inefficiency" and rampant corruption prevalent there, the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly told reporters here.

Responding to the claim of Left front that Vijayan was an able administrator, Chennithala said if that was so his office would not have "deteriorated into a haven for smugglers."

The gold, worth around Rs 15 crore, was received at the airport here as a diplomatic cargo addressed to an official in the consulate of the United Arab Emirates and the Customs have said they suspected a syndicate misused the diplomatic immunity to smuggle it. The case is being investigated by Customs and the National Investigation Agency, which has booked four people-- Swapna Suresh, Sarith, Sandeep Nair and Fasil Fareed, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention ) Act.

On the spike in COVID-19 cases and community transmission in two places in Thiruvananthapuram, the Congress leader said the state government should take remedial measures immediately. The testing and facilities for patients needs to be ramped up. Accusing the Left government of 'failing' to conduct more tests, Chennithala said Kerala did not test enough, fearing it would dent its "PR-built" image.

The government did nothing despite the opposition seeking an increase in primary care facilities, quarantine centres, rapid response teams and proper training for volunteers. "Data manipulation by the government is another area of concern," he alleged.

Alleging that it was "Consultancy Raj" now in the state, Chennithala said the Congress was not against consultancies, but they should be selected and appointed by following strict norms.