As opposition parties demanded his resignation following new revelations against him in the gold smuggling case, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan hit back at critics on Saturday, saying the allegations are not were going to affect neither him nor his government. that they always enjoy the full support and confidence of the people of the state.
Without mentioning the key defendant’s recent disclosure of the Swapna Suresh gold smuggling case against him and his family, Mr Vijayan said there had been a flood of similar allegations against his government ahead of the election. national, but that the people had rejected the accusations and given the mandate to govern the state. again with 99 seats.
“We are more beholden to the people now…we will certainly not surrender to a force that opposes the interests of the country,” he said at the inauguration of the Kerala State Gazetted Officers conference. Association (KGOA) here.
As the speech progressed on the need to protect the secular fabric of the country and take a strong stand against communal forces, he suddenly referenced some recent incidents in the state and then gave a veiled response to his critics.
Warning those raising allegations not to try to intimidate him and not to resort to gimmicks, Mr Vijayan said such attempts would yield no results.
Noting that they have full confidence in the people of the state, he said that they (the people) were able to realize the truth when vested interests push forward with their ridiculous accusations.
The Chief Minister also made no secret of his displeasure with the media giving so much importance to the news related to the statements of the indicted gold smuggling case.
He asked if the media thought they could tarnish the image of the LDF government in front of the public through such reporting.
“It is high time for you (the media) to ask yourselves whether such reporting is fit for your credibility. No one is coming to correct you. People are the ultimate judges,” Mr Vijayan added.
Meanwhile, the heightened security cover for the Chief Minister following opposition protests appeared to confuse the common people in this southern neighborhood this morning.
Unprecedented traffic rules imposed on the roads for its smooth passage sparked arguments between the police and the public in several places.
According to reports, a 40-member security team, including commandos, accompanied the chief minister when he arrived here for the conference.
People attending the KGOA conference were asked to enter the hall one hour in advance and a pass was made compulsory for the media to enter the hall. There were also strict regulations for those who wore black-colored masks in the region.
Mr Vijayan’s veiled attack on the allegations came a day after Swapna Suresh, a key accused in gold smuggling in the diplomatic baggage case, released audio clips of his alleged conversation with a man who she says is linked to powerful people in the government. .
She said she released the audio to ‘substantiate’ her claim that he had approached her to ‘address’ issues that arose following her recent statement to a trial court about the chief minister’s alleged role Pinarayi Vijayan and members of his family in some alleged trafficking. Activities.
In the alleged audio clips, the man named Shaj Kiran, a former journalist, was heard asking Ms Suresh why she gave a statement in court under Section 164 of the CrPC and said that the Chief Minister would not tolerate his statements targeting his family members in connection with a certain smuggling affair.
Following the latest developments, the opposition Congress has been pushing for Mr Vijayan’s resignation, with party activists staging protest marches in different parts of the state over the issue, even as the CPI (M) in power continued to strongly defend the chief minister. .
Sparking a political storm in the state, Ms Suresh earlier this week claimed she had disclosed in court – in her statement under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure – the other people allegedly involved in smuggling cases and their “degree of involvement.”
She said she made statements against the Chief Minister, his family, former Kerala Minister KT Jaleel and some other senior officials.
Ms Suresh, a former employee of the UAE consulate here, was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) along with fellow defendant Sandeep Nair from Bengaluru on July 11, 2020.
The NIA, Directorate of Law Enforcement (ED) and Customs carried out separate investigations into the racketeering which was foiled with the seizure of gold worth Rs 15 crore from the diplomatic baggage of the UAE consulate at Thiruvananthapuram airport on July 5, 2020.
Several people including Mr Sivasankar, the former Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister and another former employee of the UAE Consulate here, Sarith, have been arrested in connection with the case.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)