The Congress party has accused Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan of tarnishing the image of the state and demanded his resignation over the alleged involvement of his office in the gold smuggling case.
The Vijayan government is under attack from the opposition parties ever since 30 kg of gold worth Rs 15 crore was seized from a diplomatic baggage at an airport. Reports have now emerged that suspended senior IAS officer and former IT secretary M Sivashankar had close links with a few accused in the case.
Leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala said that the probe should be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation to unearth the larger nexus in the case.
“With this gold smuggling case, the current government in the state has tarnished the image of Kerala worldwide,” Congress leader and leader of opposition in the state Assembly, Ramesh Chennithala, said.
State Congress chief Mullappally Ramachandran demanded a probe by the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). “The current Left government is a liability to the state. Since the gold smuggling matter has international ramifications, the RAW should also probe the case,” he said.
The Congress-led United Democratic Front leaders on Monday held an online sit-in protest to mount pressure on Vijayan to exit. Titled ‘Speakup Kerala’, the opposition leaders joined the protest from their homes and offices across the state.
Earlier on July 5, the customs had seized around 30 kg of gold worth Rs 15 crore from a diplomatic baggage addressed to the UAE Consulate which arrived at the Thiruvananthapuram international airport. The National Investigation Agency and the Customs department are investigating the matter.
The NIA has so far arrested ten people in connection with the case.