Kerala Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala and four other UDF leaders on Thursday marched to the state secretariat demanding resignation of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Chennithala alleged that Pinarayi Vijayan had been lying since the beginning regarding what he knew about Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the gold smuggling case.
Ramesh Chennithala marched from the Martyr's column at Palayam to the Secretariat gate along with four other leaders including Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) Chairman MM Hassan and RSP leader Shibu Baby John. The protest comes a day after the Enforcement Directorateâ€™s chargesheet surfaced. It had recorded Swapna's statement that CM Pinarayi was aware of her appointment in Space Park, a project of the IT Department, and that she had met suspended IAS officer M Sivasankar several times in the presence of the Chief Minister. Swapna's statement is however in stark contradiction with the CM's assertion that he was unaware of the appointment. In a press meet in July, the CM had said, "The appointment was without my knowledge and will endeavour to understand the facts in the matter.â€ť
â€śPinarayi had met Swapna six times in the presence of Sivasankar. From the beginning the Chief Minister had been lying. CMâ€™s office had been doing favours to help the accused persons in the gold smuggling case,â€ť Chennithala alleged.
Watch visuals of protest:
The protest led by Chennithala was held abiding by the present COVID-19 regulation in Kerala that not more than five people should assemble together at a time.
In his press meets, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has not denied having met Swapna Suresh, who was a former employee of Space Park and UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram. But in the wake of allegations surrounding the connection of the Chief Ministerâ€™s Office with Swapna Suresh, CM Pinarayi had come out strongly rejecting it.
Kerala had witnessed massive protests by the Opposition parties across the state pertaining to various controversies against the LDF government. But following an all party meeting in the wake of increasing COVID-19 cases, the parties had said they will restrain from the protests. But earlier this week, UDF had given a statement that they will continue the protest abiding by the regulations in place.