A day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah slammed him over the gold smuggling case, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday asked why the Customs department, under the BJP government, was unable to catch the person who had sent the gold even after nine months of the controversial case coming to light. As a counter to Shah's queries, the Chief Minister also posed some questions to the senior BJP leader asking him if he was aware that his cabinet colleague repeatedly said the gold was not smuggled through diplomatic baggage.
Shah was disappointed over not getting anything against the Left government even after all the central agencies have investigated for over nine months, Vijayan told at a press conference in Kollam.
Shah on his visit to Kerala a day before, had alleged that the ‘Marxist leader had links with the prime accused in the scam. "I call upon Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to answer this straight question. Did the prime accused in the gold scam work in your office or not? Did your government give this accused monthly remuneration of Rs 3 lakh?” Shah had asked as he kickstarted the second leg of the election campaign in the southern state.
Vijayan asked why the Union government was not arresting the person who had sent the gold even after nine months. "We understand his disappointment in not getting anything against the Left government even after all these agencies probing it for so long. The people of Kerala know the answers to his questions," Vijayan said.
The Chief Minister posed some questions to the Home Minister and asked whether he was aware of the fact that his cabinet colleague refused to accept the fact that the gold was smuggled in a diplomatic baggage in order to help the accused escape.
"The person who had sent the gold from abroad is yet to be nabbed.Who used the gold sent from abroad? Why was an RSS affiliated and tainted officer in another smuggling case appointed in Thiruvananthapuram airport? Is he aware of his cabinet colleague, the Union Minister of State for External Affairs, who repeatedly maintained that the gold was not smuggled in a diplomatic baggage," Vijayan asked. He said the state expects the Home Minister to answer these questions.
On July 5 last year, the Customs Department at the Trivandrum International Airport had seized gold worth about Rs 15 crore from a diplomatic baggage addressed to the UAE consulate at Thiruvananthapuram. The incident soon snowballed into a controversy with allegations being aired that the Chief Minister's Office had links with the accused. Later, M Sivasankar, who was the Private Secretary of CM Pinarayi Vijayan (now removed from post), was arrested as one of the key accused in the case.