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Move for Judicial Probe Against ED an Attempt to Derail Probe into Gold Smuggling Case: Sitharaman

File photo of FM Nirmala Sitharaman.

File photo of FM Nirmala Sitharaman.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said those who are afraid of facing the law are unleashing the state police force against the central agencies.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday hit out at the Left government in Kerala and said the move for a judicial inquiry against the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which has been probing the gold smuggling case, was an attempt to derail the probe. Sitharaman, who is here for electioneering, told reporters that those who are afraid of facing the law are unleashing the state police force against the central agencies.

"If you are clean, prove it. If you are not, then I am sorry, this is absolutely wrong…The person who unleashes his own investigative or state police officers is the one who is frightened of facing the law." "The one who is frightened, therefore retaliates not in a lawful way to threaten us. Investigation will go on. It has been going on. It has no political connotations," she said. The Kerala government had on March 26 decided to recommend a judicial inquiry against the central probe agencies, including Enforcement directorate, which are investigating the gold smuggling and dollar cases.

The judicial probe was recommended against the central agencies for "derailing the probe" in the gold and dollar smuggling cases. Sitharaman said people have been caught red-handed for smuggling and claimed such people had patronage from the CM's office earlier.

"A graceful and more dignified way would be to face the law rather than saying 'oh now look I will send the judicial inquiry. What are you trying to prove and who's afraid of this? Leftists, Marxists have been known for such gimmicks," she said. Asked about rising fuel prices in the country, Sitharaman said she and the central government were in "Dharma Sankat" (dilemma) situation and that the question of fuel price was being raised only against the central government whereas the tax is being levied by the state governments as well.

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"..both the Centre and the state will have to talk about it. Asking the Centre to set an example by reducing the Centre's tax is an easy question to be thrown at my face. But I put the crux of the matter before you." "What is it about fuel when both the states and the Centre do have a component.That's the question which all of us have to think about," she said.

About the issues faced by the common people due to fuel price hike, she said she "recognises" that the end consumer will have to face the taxation. "If you want to have an argument, I'll also say.

yes even I am.. that's why I use the word 'Dharma Sankat'. "Because I can be asked this question. I don'tknow if you ask this question to your state governments. But as long as you ask me, I will have to tell you the actual truth before it…But I will put the context before you and I recognise….

I recognise that end consumer will have to face the taxation coming from both centre and the states.." Sitharaman added. Earlier in the day she attended a road show at Thiruvalla.