The Congress-led UDF staged a walkout from the Assembly after Speaker P Sreeramakrishanan denied permission to move an adjournment motion on the gold smuggling case in the Assembly on Thursday.
The opposition lashed out at Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan over the case. During the session, Congress MLA PT Thomas gave notice to move an adjournment motion on the gold smuggling case. He alleged that the Chief Minister’s office was protecting those involved in the case. Thomas also questioned that the association between the Vijayan’s daughter and gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh.
“The Chief Minister should make it clear whether Swapna had visited his house a day before a marriage function took place in his family,” Thomas said. He went on to allege, “The CM’s additional private secretary CM Raveendran is under the shadow after he was probe agencies question him regarding the case.”
Vijayan replied to Thomas’ allegations, telling that Swapna did not visit his house and added that the probe agencies did not question his family members.
“The investigation agencies have found that gold has come to Kerala through diplomatic channel 21 times. It is the Customs duty to prevent it from happening. What does the Chief Minister or the CMO have to do with it,” Vijayan asked.
The Chief Minister also said it was the Congress president who alleged that central agencies are used to target political opponents. “It was Congress Sonia Gandhi who alleged that probe agencies are used to target political opponents. The same Congress party does not agree with it. During his Kerala visit, Rahul Gandhi also said the Centre is using Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to corner political opponent,” Vijayan said.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala asked when Vijayan cannot control the CMO, then how can he manage the state. “The Chief Minister’s office has become a den of gold smugglers. CM’s former principal secretary M Sivasankar controlled the CMO for nearly four years and aided gold smugglers. Swapna frequently visited the CMO. Does the CM not receive any intelligence reports,” Chennithala asked.
The opposition leader went on allege that state government is attempting to sabotage the case. “Vijayan changed his opinion on the probe agencies after they issued summon notices to Raveendran. Before that the Chief Minister was giving good certificates to the probe agencies,” Chennithala said.
Following this, the Speaker refused permission to move an adjournment motion on the gold smuggling case, thus prompting the opposition to stage a walkout.