Vijayan Denies Accusation of Obtaining Smuggled Gold

The old case of gold smuggling scandal has started anew in Kerala politics. One of the accused in the scandal claimed in a statement that money and gold were also given to Pinarayi Vijayan, the Chief Minister of the state. The bag of money had reached the Chief Minister in Dubai. And gold was sent to the Chief Minister’s official residence in Thiruvananthapuram filled inside biryani cans! Chief Minister Vijayan, however, countered that the statement was being made by one of the accused for “political purposes.”

The smuggling case came to light after a bag full of gold was seized at Thiruvananthapuram airport. Swapna Suresh, one of the accused in the case, was once working at the Indian Embassy in Dubai. Former Chief Secretary to the Kerala Chief Minister’s Office M Sivasankar was caught red-handed in the incident after her arrest. The Central Investigation Agency, including the ED and NIA, has taken over the investigation of the incident.

Since then, Sivasankar had once complained that ‘pressure’ was being exerted to add Vijayan’s name to the incident. Even then, Vijayan’s government returned to power for the second time after winning the assembly vote last year. Now the noise in Kerala’s politics has started again due to the allegations of Swapna.

Swapna’s testimony

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Swapna testified under section 164 before a magistrate in a Kochi court. Her statement was recorded again on Tuesday on a court order as Swapna claimed that the previous statement was incomplete. Swapna later claimed, ‘I have said everything in my statement. Hopefully, the judicial process will be completed.” What did she say in the statement? Swapna alleges, “Chief Minister Vijayan, his wife Kamala, daughter Veena (married to former DYFI All India President Mohammed Riyaz and now he is Minister for Public Works in the Vijayan cabinet), Sivasankar and Former Minister K. T. Jaleel has benefited from the gold-case. Everything is stated in the statement.”

Swapna claimed that Sivasankar had requested to send a bag to the Chief Minister through the embassy in Dubai when Chief Minister Vijayan was on a visit to the UAE in 2016. The bag was scanned in accordance with the embassy’s protocol. The scanning revealed that there was money in it. Swapna did not say what coins were there. The gold was sent to the Chief Minister’s official residence ‘Cliff House’ in a biryani box.

Vijayan’s stance

In response to such allegations, the Chief Minister Vijayan countered with a text message, “It is part of the political scenario. That screenplay has been rejected once in the court of the people. After a brief pause, the same thing is being said again in the statement of one of the accused.” He asserted that, “Those who have decided to find the roots of economical crimes and taken stances of not to compromise in the path of revealing the truth, they have been repeatedly falsely accused.” Kerala Opposition Leader V. D. Satheesan used Swapna’s allegations as a tool to demand that Vijayan should resign and allow an impartial inquiry.