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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Why reference to gold smuggling case makes Pinarayi Vijayan jittery?

Ever since Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case, declared in court about the alleged involvement of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, his wife and daughter in the matter and sought a CBI probe into it, the Kerala Chief Minister seems to get irked whenever the matter is referred to in public.

This again became visible during the recent three-day visit of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar to the state, during which he said that the Central agencies probing the gold smuggling case will definitely bring out the truth.

While Jaishankar maintained that the matter is sub-judice and he won’t comment on it, he also said that the truth will surely come out.

Asked about the opposition leaders’ demand for a CBI probe into the matter, Jaishankar said that the case is not a political issue as discussed in Kerala, but a diplomatic issue between two nations, and proper action would be taken at the right time.

Vijayan is under pressure on the floor of the House during the ongoing Assembly session, as practically every day the Congress-led opposition is trying to corner him over the gold smuggling case.

While the Chief Minister didn’t comment on Jaishankar’s remarks on the gold smuggling case, he took a jibe at the Union minister for visiting a flyover in Thiruvananthapuram.

“When a minister in charge of world affairs visits a flyover, the whys and wherefores of the stop are evident,” he said.

Coming to Vijayan’s defence, his son-in law and state Minister for Public Works, P.A. Mohammed Riyas, took pot shots at Jaishankar, saying, “Every day he is conducting press meets, which is a good thing, but it would be better if he counts the number of ditches in these national highways. They will be more than the press meets he is holding.”

Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan, who is losing no opportunity to corner the Chief Minister over the gold smuggling case, said, “Vijayan is not giving answers, instead he is trying to side-step the various issues being raised by the opposition.

“I fail to understand why Vijayan, who claims to possess a clean image, is running away. Just writing on posters that he is clean won’t help, he has to rise to the occasion and answer the questions that we have been raising.”

Incidentally, when the gold smuggling case surfaced in July 2020, Vijayan handled the matter well. Even when the Congress made it a poll issue during the 2020 local body polls and the 2021 Assembly elections, he came out with flying colours.

“The people have given a fitting reply to the opposition. Our tally in the 140-member Assembly has increased from 91 to 99” — was the stock reply of the Chief Minister.

Satheesan pointed out that just because the Left Democratic Front (LDF) won the Assembly elections, it does it mean that it is absolved of all the wrongdoings.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed.)

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