Gold smuggling syndicate: Oppn attack ruling CPI(M)

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Thiruvananthapuram/Thrissur, Jun 19 (PTI) The opposition Congress and BJP on Tuesday lambasted the ruling CPI(M) in Kerala over the alleged link of a Kannur-based gold smuggling syndicate with the party and urged Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to end his silence over the issue.

While the Congress alleged that the Marxist party is protecting all sorts of criminals, the BJP accused it of providing a safe haven to 'quotation gangs' and underworld mafia groups in the southern state.

The opposition parties sharpened their criticism after reports about the alleged link of the Kannur-based smugglers, involved in the illegal transfer of the yellow metal through the Karipur International Airport in north Kerala, with the CPI(M) surfaced in the media.

The matter came to light after the recent death of a gang of five men in a road accident in Ramanattukara in northern Kozhikode district.

The deceased persons were suspected to have links with the smugglers, police said.

Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, V D Satheesan hit out at the CPI(M) and urged the party-led government to order an investigation into the smugglers' alleged relationship with political leaders and also about those who were protecting the criminals.

'Media reports are exposing the CPI(M)'s criminal connections everyday.

It has now become clear that those who indulge in cyber goondaism for the party on various virtual platforms are either perpetrators or masterminds in various criminal cases reported in recent times,' he alleged in a press meet in Thrissur.

The left party was protecting those involved in crimes like gold smuggling, political murders and rape, the Congress leader further alleged.

Cautioning that the control of the state would land in the hands of anti-social elements if the present gold smuggling case was not dealt with utmost seriousness, Satheesan said the CM should make his stand clear over the issue.

'Pinarayi Vijayan should end his silence over the issue and make his stand clear,' he said.

The opposition leader also accused the Vijayan government of sabotaging the probe into the hawala money case in Kodagara, in which the BJP faced allegations.

Meanwhile, BJP state president K Surendran targeted the ruling party over the latest gold smuggling case in the state and said its roots could be traced to AKG Centre, the CPI(M) headquarters here.

The recent incidents have proved that Kerala had turned out to be a safe haven for quotation and underworld gangs, he alleged in the state committee meeting of the saffron party held today.

Smugglers were engaging in illegal gold transfer with the support of the authorities, Surendran claimed adding that it was unbelievable that the home department did not get any prior information on the fight between two criminal gangs near the high security Kariupur airport recently.

The Customs is probing the case related to the recent gold smuggling through the Karipur International Airport. PTI LGK ROH ROH

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