As a political storm exploded in Kerala over allegations raised against his office in the gold smuggling case, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has in report by a news agency has clearly stated that it was up to the Centre to decide which agency should probe the matter as the left government removed an IAS officer from key posts.
With the Congress and BJP stepping up their attack, the Left government removed M Sivasankar, who was the secretary to the Chief Minister and the IT Principal secretary, after the opposition targeted him for the appointment of a woman official of the IT department, alleged to be the ‘kingpin’ and who was being investigated by the Crime Branch in another case. She was being investigated by the Crime Branch in another case and since sacked from her present post. Vijayan also said the “controversial woman” was not associated with the Chief Minister’s office.
The woman, who was appointed as a marketing official in the IT department on contract basis, was sacked two days ago as media reports emerged that she had been recruited when a crime branch probe was on. With the woman,a former employee of a foreign country’s consulate in Kerala, on the run, the Customs on Tuesday said it was planning to issue a lookout notice for her. Highly placed sources in the Customs said the lookout notice has to be issued for the woman, who is allegedly involved in the gold smuggling, to ensure that she would not flee the country.
The central agency’s move came a day after it arrested a man, who claimed himself to be a former employee of a foreign country’s consulate in Kerala, in connection with the seizure of gold worth over Rs 15 crore from a “diplomatic baggage” at Thiruvananthapuram international airport on Sunday.
Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly, Ramesh Chennithala, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a CBI probe into the matter, saying the seized gold worth “Rs 30 crore illegally brought to our country” from a consignment was addressed to the “UAE consulate.”