Heist case: Kerala BJP chief says ready to face any probe team

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Kozhikode, July3 (PTI): Kerala BJP chief K Surendran on Saturday said he was not afraid to appear before any probe team but said he was yet to decide whether or not to appear before the special investigation team probing into the Kodakara highway heist case.

The case related also to allegations of hawala connections linked to the party's State leader.

Surendran, who met reporters here, said, 'I will not shy away from appearingunder the pretext ofa fake heart attack or pretend as Covid-positive.

'I got the notice to appear as a witness only on Friday. I have not decided on appearing on Tuesday and it is not legally mandatory to appear on the very same day as was sought. I can make it some other day also,' he said.

'Our State committee meeting that I preside over is on the same day and it was scheduled much before I got the notice,' he said.

On the election malpractice cases registered in Sulthan Bathery and Kasaragod, he said he was not afraid of any cases and there had been many framed against him earlier also.

The police had on Friday served notice to Surendran asking him to appear before its team probing into the highway heist case of Kodakara in Thrissur.

The BJP had alleged that the ruling CPI(M), using its power, was targeting the saffron party.

'The BJP will not allow Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the ruling Left to hunt down Surendran,' the party said in a Facebook post.

Meanwhile, Union Minister V Muraleedharan said the Left government was targeting Surendran in order to divert the attention from other cases faced by the State government.

The BJP in Kerala has been in deep trouble after the State police found the party allegedly having nexus with the robbery of havala money at Kodakara highway in Thrissur recently.

The party organisation secretary M Ganeshan and party office secretary Girish were quizzed by the investigation team in this connection.

BJP, which has been facing charges of using 'hawala' money in the April 6 Assembly polls, has accused the CPI(M)-led LDF government in the State of playing politics of revenge against it in connection with the heist.

The saffron party has alleged that instead of checking the call lists of the accused in the heist case, the police were going through the call list of the complainant in the case.

According to a complaint filed by Shamjeer Samsudheen on April 7, a gang had stopped his car on the Kodakara flyover here and looted Rs 25 lakh kept in the vehicle when he was on his way to Kochi from Kozhikode.

Though the complaint had said only Rs 25 lakh were stolen, the investigators later found that the actual amount could be about Rs 3.5 crore and it was a 'hawala' transaction.

Police have arrested 21 people in connection with the case. PTI COR RRT NVG NVG

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