Attempt to derail Kerala gold smuggling probe: CPM

Deccan Chronicle.

Nation, Politics

Kerala CPM demands resignation of union minister Muraleedharan for alleged attempt to derail gold smuggling probe

Police use water cannon to disperse Kerala Students Union (KSU) activists who were staging a protest demanding resignation of Kerala Minister in Kozhikode. — PTI photo

The ruling CPM in Kerala on Monday demanded  the resignation of  senior BJP leader and union minister of state V Muraleedharan for allegedly attempting to derail the probe into gold smuggling case.

The CPM said the reply given by finance ministry in Parliament clearly stated that the gold smuggling in Thiruvananthapuram airport happened through diplomatic baggage. However, Muraleedharan had earlier categorically stated that the smuggled gold was not found in diplomatic baggage. “The NIA, Customs and now finance ministry have said it was diplomatic baggage but the minister continues to contradict them publicly,” the CPM said.

The party alleged that gold smuggling using diplomatic baggage had increased after Muraleedharan took over as union minister of state for external affairs.

The union home ministry while handing over the case to the NIA had clearly mentioned that the gold was smuggled through diplomatic baggage. This was also confirmed while filing the report in NIA court. Despite the central agency’s position, Mr Muraleedhran had maintained that it was not diplomatic baggage.

The CPM alleged that Muraleedharan who publicly contradicted the union home ministry and finance ministry has acted against the collective functioning of the ministry and also violated the oath of office and secrecy. “Either  he should resign on his own or the Prime Minister should throw him out,” CPM state secretariat said in a statement here.

The CPM said the union finance ministry had informed parliament that it was only after the external affairs ministry confirmed that it was diplomatic baggage, the permission was given to customs to go ahead and open the baggage. This clearly indicates that Muraleedharan tried to mislead by saying it was not diplomatic baggage and his statement was aimed at sabotaging the probe .

The CPM alleged that the key accused in the case Swapna Suresh had given statement saying that she was asked by the coordinating editor of  BJP backed Malayalam news channel top inform customs that it was not diplomatic baggage. The advise was given much before the gold smuggling case came in the media. Following the questioning of the coordinating editor, there have been transfer officials in the department which has raised doubts,the Marxists alleged.

Gold smuggling through diplomatic route had become a routine affair afer Muraleedharan became the mnister. Under these circumstances the investigating agencies should question the Minister.

The CPM alleged that the Congress led UDF which was aware of the union minister’s role, has been silent on the issue. This clearly indicated that the two parties were on the same page in Kerala.