Two days after being named an LDF candidate in the local body polls in Kozhikode, Koduvally Municipal Councillor Karat Faizal has given up his candidature. Karat Faizal had on October 1, been taken into custody by Customs officials in connection with the Kerala gold smuggling case. The Koduvally Municipal Councillor Faizal has been arrested before in 2015 in another case of gold smuggling.
On November 15, Faizal was declared as LDF candidate who would contest from Choondapuram ward of Division 15 in Koduvally. MLA PTA Rahim, who is the LDF-backed independent from Kunnamangalam, announced Faizalâ€™s candidature along with that of the others.
However, while some reports state that the party had asked Faizal to withdraw from contesting on an LDF ticket, the party distanced itself from the decision. Speaking to the media, Kozhikode CPI(M) Secretary P Mohanan said that the CPI(M)â€™s district unit had no role to play in Faizalâ€™s decision to step down as an LDF candidate.
â€śWe do not have the time to go behind these things. As far as selection of candidates is concerned, the local committees get to decide the candidates. The district unit has not found any CPI(M) candidates who were selected to contest in violation of party guidelines. Neither in Koduvally nor anywhere in the district we have found such violations. Therefore, we did not have to interfere in this decision,â€ť P Mohanan told local news channels.
P Mohanan also added that there was bound to be changes in some candidates until the last minute, as the nomination papers need only be submitted on November 19. â€śOnly after that will we get a clear picture of the nominees,â€ť Mohanan added.
Faizal had been taken into custody in October as the Customs Department alleged that he was an important player in the smuggling case. He was later taken to the Kochi Customs officer for interrogation.
According to local reports published in October which quoted Customs officials, Faizal was involved in selling the first consignment of smuggled gold which landed in Thiruvananthapuram airport.
Karat Faizal is an important leader in National Secular Congress - a party formed by MLA PTA Rahim, a breakaway of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML). PTA Rahim is an LDF-backed candidate who had announced Faizalâ€™s candidature. Faizalâ€™s arrest kicked up a storm as he had pictures with several Left leaders on his social media profiles and was an LDF-backed candidate. Local reports on Tuesday have also hinted that Faizal may contest as an independent from Koduvally after giving up his LDF candidature.