'Trying to Destabilise Govt': Kerala CM Says Central Agencies Probing Gold Smuggling Case Exceeding Jurisdiction

File photo of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

File photo of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The state government, he said, would make necessary interventions within the existing legal framework.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday alleged that the central agencies probing the gold smuggling case were exceeding their jurisdiction to malign and destabilise a constitutionally elected government. The state government, he said, would make necessary interventions within the existing legal framework.

This is the first time Vijayan is hitting out at the agencies, even as his party CPI(M) and its allies have many a time criticised them "for acting in a prejudiced manner." "The various central investigating agencies probing the gold smuggling case are exceeding their jurisdiction in a concerted effort to malign and destabilise the constitutionally elected government in the state," he said, adding that neither he nor his government were against any "proper investigation" in any matter. In a strongly worded statement read out at a press meet here, the Chief Minister said the agencies were encroaching the executive authority of the state government and the constitutional bodies.

"It is a violation of their own jurisdiction and thereby an encroachment on the Constitution. This is undemocratic and unconstitutional and cannot be allowed. The state government will make the necessary interventions within the existing legal framework," he said. Meanwhile, the Congress and the BJP, reacting to Vijayan's criticism, said the "true colours" of the chief minister and his party have now been exposed.

Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly and senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said the chiefminister was attacking the central agencies as he feared that the probe would reach his office. "He might have received indications that the probe by the central agencies will reach his office.

The Chief Minister himself had given good certificates to the agencies. But now the true colours of the chief minister and his party have now come out as they have been cornered by the probe agencies," Chennithala said.

BJP state president K Surendran echoed similar views, saying that as the probe agencies were moving in the right direction, "the true colours of the Chief Minister was out". In a statement, he said the Chief Minister, who claimed that the probe by the central agencies began as per his request, was now upset "as the probe has turned to him." The Enforcement Directorate had recently sought details of around four developmental projects of the state government, including the K-Fone project, in connection with matters related to the gold smuggling case.

Vijayan said the state government had a legitimate expectation while seeking a comprehensive and independent probe in the gold smuggling matter and offered all assistance. The Chief Minister said he did not intend to blame any agency or official,but wished to clarify that the professional standards of the probe agencies were being subverted and the investigations diverted "to suit certain vested interests." In an apparent reference to the press meet of Union Minister V Muraleedharan at New Delhi in connection with the gold smuggling case, Vijayan said "people outside the agency are announcing the next step of the investigation through the media andthe agencies act as per the announcement.

"There is also a situation where parts of the statements given to the agencies are selectively leaked to the media," he said. The Chief Minister said the agencies scrutinising the policies and decisions of a constitutionally elected state government would only destroy the federal structure, which would lead to the breakdown of governance.

Investigative agencies should not indulge in activities that demoralise bureaucrats and undermine the political leadership, Vijayan said. "How does a statement, given under oath, appear in the media? What is the reason for leaking parts of the statements to the media in line with certain agendas? An investigation appearing to be moving in a scripted manner is a setback to the democratic system," Vijayan said.

He said the K-Fone project, to provide quality internet to all people of the state at a low cost, would be implemented at any cost and the government would not surrender its authority and the right to take policy decisions. "Attempts are being made to derail the project, which would be done by laying 52,000 km-long optical fibre cable across Kerala. I would like to make it clear that no matter what, it will be implemented in the state." Multiple central probe agencies are conducting various investigations in Kerala with regard to the gold smuggling through diplomatic baggage.

Besides the Enforcement Directorate, the CBI, NIA and Customs are probing various aspects related to the case.

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