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Vijayan, CPI-M have to respond to Custom chief's statements: Cong

Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan on Saturday asked Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his party CPI-M to respond to the statements made by Customs Commissioner Sumit Kumar in the infamous gold smuggling case.

Vijayan, CPI-M have to respond to Custom chiefs statements: Cong
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan (File Photo)


Kumar, who led the investigation in the gold smuggling case, has been transferred from Kochi. In a talk with the media at Kochi on Saturday he said there was interference in the case  from the state. 

When asked if the office of the Chief Minister tried to influence him, he shot back, "I don't report to the Chief Minister instead I report to the Union Finance Minister who has been providing all the support to us in all respects. We have conducted the probe in the best manner and none can influence us in any way. It's only that I am transferred, but the other officers are here," said Kumar. 

Kumar went on to add that even when the Customs officials including he came under attack, the Kerala Police failed to act in the proper manner. 

"Not a single charge sheet in these attack cases has been filed. The present judicial probe against the Customs is foolish and is unheard of in the country. How would it look if I appoint a Commission against the government," asked Sharma. 

The gold smuggling case surfaced on July 5 last year, with the arrest of P.R. Sarith, a former UAE Consulate staffer. This was followed by the arrest of another former staffer, Swapna Suresh, who afterwards worked in the Kerala IT Department's Space Park. 

Things became bad for Vijayan when the Enforcement Directorate arrested M. Sivasankar, who was the principal secretary to Vijayan, besides being a senior IAS officer. He is now out on bail after a few months in jail. 

Reacting to Kumar's statement, Satheesan said the statement  has to be probed. 

"It's Vijayan and the CPI-M which should provide the answers to the revelation of Kumar, if there was any interference in the probe. Before the elections all the national agencies were involved in the probe, but all of a sudden everything has turned silent and this took place because of the political tie up between the CPI-M and the BJP. The same thing has happened in  the Kodakara election fund case probe where the BJP is involved and this new found tie up between the two is the reason for all such cases involving the CPI-M and the BJP, which have come to a premature close," said Satheesan. 

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