Thiruvananthapuram, July 8: Kerala Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala on Wednesday demanded the resignation of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. He alleged that Left Democratic Front-led state government was involved in shielding the main accused -- Swapna Suresh and M Sivasankar -- in the gold smuggling case.
Addressing a press conference in the state capital, Chennithala said, as quoted by news agency ANI, "UDF is demanding the resignation of CM Pinarayi Vijayan. In high profile gold smuggling case, CMO got involved to save accused Swapna Suresh. CM's principal secretary was asked to step down due to his links with her. CM shared closed relation with her." Kerala Gold Smuggling Case: Pinarayi Vijayan Says No Links Between CMO and Prime Accused Woman, Blames Centre.
The Kerala Congress leader was of the opinion that CBI should include CM's office in the ambit of the probe. He alleged that the LDF government had previously shielded IAS official M Sivasankar in Sprinklr deal and Bevco app corruption case.
Here's what Ramesh Chennithala said:
CM's office should also be included in the ambit of CBI probe. Whenever any corruption charges and issues were raised by opposition, including that of Sprinklr deal and Bevco app, CM was shielding this IAS official (M Sivasankar): Congress' Ramesh Chennithala. #KeralaGoldScandal
— ANI (@ANI) July 8, 2020
Chennithala even claimed that CM Vijayan is trying to blame Pricewaterhouse Coopers which appointed Swapna Suresh in the IT department. He said that the woman in question faced criminal case and intelligence had blacklisted her. Earlier on Tuesday, CM Vijayan denied any links between his office and Swapna Suresh -- the prime accused in a gold smuggling case. Addressing the media, Pinarayi Vijayan said the woman was hired on a contract basis through an agency for a project in the state's IT department.
Meanwhile, the Embassy of the UAE in India on Tuesday condemned the Thiruvananthapuram gold smuggling incident and assured full cooperation with Indian customs authorities to thoroughly investigate the matter. UAE even requested Indian authorities to take stringent legal action against those involved.
As per the case, the former public relations officer (PRO) of the UAE Consulate at Thiruvananthapuram -- Sarith Kumar - -- has been accused in the smuggling of 30 kg of gold seized by the Customs department on July 4 and been remanded for 14 days.