Follow Us:

Kerala Gold smuggling case: Congress-led UDF to bring no-confidence motion against Pinarayi Vijayan govt

UDF convener Benni Behanan said the Front has also decided to move a resolution against Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan and seek his resignation.

SNS | New Delhi |

The Congress-led-United Democratic Front (UDF)on Friday gave a notice to move a no-confidence motion against the Pinarayi Vijayan government in Kerala, which is currently under cloud in the gold smuggling case. UDF convener Benni Behanan said the Front has also decided to move a resolution against Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan and seek his resignation.

The sensational Thiruvananthapuram Airport Gold smuggling case involves the smuggling of 30 kg gold in Kerala through diplomatic channels.

Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, while speaking to the media, said the things have reached such a stage where Kerala is being shamed on account of the gold smuggling case, and CM Vijayan has to resign.

The state assembly will reassemble on July 27 to pass the Finance Bill.

“Technically with the numbers in the assembly favouring Vijayan, the motion will be defeated, but Vijayan has a moral obligation to the people of Kerala, as he is morally liable to what has happened in his office,” he said.

“Two top officials by now have been booted out. Nothing short of the resignation of Vijayan will be acceptable to us,” said Chennithala.

“Vijayan is playing games. When we first raised this issue, he said none in his office is involved, but then things his principal secretary M Sivasankar and his IT fellow Arun Balachandran had to be removed.

“He has always abused us when we raised allegation of corruption. Now it’s clear that the IT department (led by Vijayan) has been turned into a den of all sorts of mafia activities,” said Chennithala.

“We demand that Vijayan should resign and a CBI probe be launched into all the activities of the IT department which includes, signing of contracts, appointments done and consultancies entered into,” added Chennithala.

UDF convener Benni Behanan said the Front has also decided to move a resolution against Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan and seek his resignation.

“The UDF meet today has decided to move a no-confidence motion against the government and resolution against the Speaker,” he added.

The UDF has entrusted the matter with the Opposition Congress Leader Ramesh Chennithala,” Behanan said.

He said the Speaker, who has alleged links with one of the accused in the gold smuggling case, needs to step down.

PS Sarith, a former employee of the UAE Consulate, was arrested by the Customs on July 5 for  facilitating the smuggling.

It turned murkier when the name of Swapna Suresh, a former employee of the UAE Consulate here and now employed with the state IT Department, surfaced. The case snowballed when their links with the second most powerful person in Vijayan’s office — his principal secretary M. Sivasankar, got revealed.

The issue took political turn when the Opposition came out against the role played by M Sivasankaran.

The senior IAS officer and secretary to Vijayan, has been removed from office and is divested of the IT secretary’s post.

Both of them were removed by Vijayan, after several visuals and telephone call records surfaced which showed that Swapna was in frequent touch with the two.

The Congress leader has alleged that the main accused in the case, Swapna Suresh — former Operations Manager with Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Ltd, who has been arrested by the NIA — was appointed by the state government, disregarding reports of intelligence against her and a probe against her by the Crime Branch of Kerala Police.

Also to fall was his IT man — Arun Balachandran – a popular face in all the IT related events in the state.

On July 5,  the Air Customs attached to the Thiruvananthapuram airport had made a seizure of 30 kg of gold worth Rs 30 crore, that arrived on a cargo flight and was kept in a warehouse in Thiruvananthapuram for release. The baggage had arrived from Dubai and is understood to have been marked to the UAE Consulate which has its office in the heart of the capital.

The MHA had said that the organised smuggling operation may have serious implications for national security, while transferring the case to NIA, last Thursday.

The NIA had on July 11 registered an FIR in the smuggling case under sections 16, 17 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and the NIA inquiry so far, suggests that the yields from the sale of smuggled gold could be used in terrorists activities in the country.

In an official statement on Friday, the NIA had said, “As the case pertains to smuggling of large quantity of gold into India from offshore locations threatening the economic stability and national security of the country, it amounts to a terrorist act…Further, as the case has national and international linkages and as the initial enquiries have revealed that the proceeds of smuggled gold could be used for financing of terrorism in India, NIA has taken up the investigation on the case.”

The key accused Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, were arrested by the National Investigative Agency from Bengaluru on Saturday.

They were remanded to custody by a NIA court at Kochi on Sunday.