This comes in the backdrop of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s Principal Secretary M Sivasankar questioned in connection to the case.

CPIM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan during press meet
news Controversy Friday, July 24, 2020 - 11:58

With the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in Kerala drawing flak over top government officials and even ministers alleged to have connections with accused in the controversial gold smuggling case, the ruling CPI(M) has stepped in to give a ‘heads up’ to personal staff of state ministers. CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Thursday held a meeting with personal staff of state ministers and reportedly asked them to be cautious and urged them to stay away from controversial figures.

According to reports, private secretaries to ministers and senior members of their personal staff participated in the meeting held at AKG Centre in Thiruvananthapuram.

This comes in the backdrop of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s Principal Secretary M Sivasankar being removed from the post following allegations that he was close to gold smuggling accused Sarith PS and Swapna Suresh.

According to reports, Kodiyeri asked the staff to have a clear understanding about those who get in touch with the Chief Minister’s Office. Mathrubhumi reported Kodiyeri to have said that circumstances where personal staff take control of things and take individual decisions should be avoided.

Read: Kerala opposition serves notice for no confidence motion against LDF govt

Reports also state that the personal staff were given a ‘heads up’ about the upcoming elections and how their actions should not come as a hindrance to the government.

Meanwhile, the Opposition has criticised the party’s intervention. Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala slammed the government and CPI(M) by saying that the meeting was conducted against government protocol. He said that the personal staff are government employees and the CPI(M) does not have authority to convene such a meeting.

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan who reacted to questions posed by reporters on the matter said on Thursday that there was nothing unusual in convening such a meeting. He said that such meetings are held to give inputs for better functioning of departments.

M Sivasankar who was also the Information Technology (IT) Secretary was removed from both the posts. Presently, he is under suspension after it was found that he flouted All India Civil Service rules. The allegation against the officer had come as a big blow to the Kerala CM.

Already, Sivasankar has been quizzed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Customs department in relation to the case.

Read: Senior IAS officer M Sivasankar quizzed by NIA in Kerala gold smuggling case

Watch M Sivasankar summoned for questioning by NIA:

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