Kerala Chief Secretary writes to Centre against Customs

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Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 20 (PTI) In yet another complaint against a central agency, Kerala Chief Secretary Vishwas Mehta has written to the Centre about the alleged harassment faced recently by a state government official from Customs and sought an unbiased and time-bound probe.

The letter in this regard was sent by Mehta on January 9.

The state Assistant Protocol Officer, M S Harikrishnan, had appeared before the customs officials at Kochi on January5 following summons issued to him in connection with the sensational gold Smuggling case.

On his return to the state capital on January 7, Harikrishnan had filed a report to the chief secretary about his ordeal before the customs officials, who he alleged had behaved in an 'improper ,maner and threatened him'.

He was asked to reply in a particular manner, failing which he would have to face the consequences, which would be serious, he was told.

Chief Minister Pinaray Vijayan on Wednesday informed thestate assembly about the letter written by the chief secretary on a calling attention notice by V Joy (CPI-M).

The chief secretary has also sought an impartial and time-bound probe into the incident besides demanding action against erring officials to ensure that such incidents do not recur.

Such 'immature, unlawful and indecent' behaviour from the customs sleuths will affect the morale of our officials, Vijayan said adding the state was keen to ensure that such incidents do not happen again.

Vijayan has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to rein in central agencies in the state as they were 'tarnishing' the image of the state government and 'deviating' from their duties and responsibilities.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Customs are probing various aspects of the case relating to gold smuggling through diplomatic baggage of the UAE consulate here.

The ED is also probing alleged irregularities in connection with the Life mission project which envisages constructing flats for the homeless in the state. PTI UD ROH ROH