New Delhi: Congress leader and leader of the opposition in Kerala Assembly, Ramesh Chennithala, on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to hand over the recent gold smuggling case in the state to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), adding that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, too, ‘shouldn’t be spared’. Also Read - Coronavirus: Kerala Public Service Commission Postpones Interviews Scheduled Between July 7 and 10
The Chief Minister had ‘misused diplomatic channels to help culprits’, he alleged. Also Read - Kerala Lockdown News: State Imposes Triple Lockdown in Thiruvananthapuram From Monday For One Week, Secretariat Won’t Function
Speaking to news agency ANI, he said, “I’ve written to PM, asking for CBI inquiry in the gold smuggling case. By misusing diplomatic channel, CMO helped culprits. Merely removing secretary won’t solve issue. CM also can’t be spared as without his knowledge this could not have happened”. Also Read - Kerala Lockdown Extension News: Coronavius Restrictions to Remain in Place For Next 1 Year | Check Here Latest Guidelines
Notably, earlier today, the state government removed CM Vijayan’s principal secretary, senior IAS officer M Sivasankar, after his role in hiring an employee of the state IT department, who is alleged to be involved in the case, came under the scanner.
Mir Muhammad Ali has been appointed as the new principal secretary to the Chief Minister. The state IT department employee, meanwhile, was dismissed from service and is currently on the run. She has been identified as Swapna Suresh.
The controversy pertains to discovery of over 30 kg gold, worth Rs 30 crore, from a ‘diplomatic baggage’ at Thiruvanathapuram International Airport, on Sunday. Sarith Kumar, who claimed have worked with the UAE Consulate-General, was arrested. During his interrogation, he is reported to have told the Customs about Swapna, the now-sacked state IT department employee.
She too is said to have worked with the UAE Consulate-General.