July 19, 2020

KERALA: Unfounded Allegations to Shield Real Culprits

Below we publish the statement issued by Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, CPI(M) Kerala state secretary, on July 11, 2020

EVEN as the NIA has taken up investigation into the Thiruvananthapuram gold smuggling case, unfounded allegations are being made so as to shield the real culprits, by creating a smoke screen. The people will realise that both the BJP and the UDF are only trying to further their vested political interests even amidst this pandemic, that too at the cost of people’s lives.

The central government’s decision to hand over the investigation into the Thiruvananthapuram gold smuggling case to the NIA only reiterates the state government’s position that any investigation can be conducted regarding it. Conspirators, implementers and benefactors of this gold smuggling case should be brought to book through this investigation. This case should not suffer the same misfortune of other smuggling cases. At the same time, this investigation should shed further light into those cases as well.

As soon as this gold smuggling case came to light, many had claimed that they have evidences that would incriminate others. They should hand over all such evidences to the investigators. Section 43F of the UAPA enables that. Even when the Customs’ investigation was underway, they had the opportunity to do so. Even though they had not done so, they should come forward to share the evidence at least now. If they do not, one cannot find fault with those who may assume that they were lying all along. False evidences will attract punishments. The coming days will make it clear that those who have been trying to reap political dividends by sowing controversies ever since this case came to light, have much to hide.

The fact that a clearing agent who is part of the Sangh Parivar was the one who intervened for the release of the diplomatic bag in which the gold was smuggled, cannot be brushed aside as a minor matter. He had threatened the Customs officers that they would lose their jobs, if the bag was withheld. When it became clear that the bag would not be released, he even tried to coerce them into sending the bag back.

Diplomatic bags require no clearing agents. Despite that, the clearing agent intervened in the matter. Subsequently, V Muraleedharan, MoS in the ministry of external affairs made a statement that the gold was not smuggled in a diplomatic bag. To doubt whether Muraleedharan’s statement was an effort to whitewash those involved in the conspiracy behind the gold smuggling, would not be farfetched.

NIA has made it clear that gold was smuggled in a diplomatic bag. With that, Muraleedharan now stands under a cloud of doubt. At such a juncture, he should examine for himself, if it is appropriate for him to continue in office as the MoS in the MEA.

An advocate belonging to the Hindu Economic Forum, which is an affiliate of the Sangh Parivar has appeared for the prime accused in this gold smuggling case. The accused is alleged to have engaged in a crime against the nation. In such a case, it is noteworthy that the accused is being represented by a leader of a Sangh Parivar affiliate organisation that preaches patriotism.

Both the BJP and the UDF are together in trying to score political brownie points by resorting to false propaganda for the benefit of the accused. Their efforts to create riots will not dent the government’s image, as through its selfless service, effective cooperation and swift collaboration, Kerala has created an internationally acclaimed model in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

The people are watching constantly. It is the people’s faith in us that is the strength of the CPI(M), LDF and the Pinarayi Vijayan ministry. The Party, alliance and the government will move forward, brushing aside all such baseless controversies.