The Opposition, Congress-led United Democratic Front, on Tuesday moved an adjournment motion in the Kerala assembly and asked Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan why he did not file a defamation case against gold smuggling scandal accused Swapna Suresh, who had raised serious allegations against him and his family members. The Opposition also questioned the CM’s silence on the allegations of journalist-cum-power broker Shaj Kiran.
After a lengthy debate, the Assembly rejected the adjournment motion, moved by Congress legislator Shafi Parambil, who alleged that the state government was trying to scuttle the probe.
Presenting the motion, Parambil questioned as to why Vijayan was not willing to file a defamation case against Suresh, if her allegations were baseless. “When Vigilance team forcibly took away Suresh co-accused Sarith after her fresh allegations, the Chief Minister says he was not aware of the incident. Why had the government formed a jumbo probe team led by an ADGP to look into Suresh’s statement under section 164 of CrPC. Shaj Kiran had raised serious allegations against the Chief Minister. Police registered a case against Suresh after she raised allegations. But when Kiran alleged that the Chief minister took funds to the US, why no probe against him. Why did Kiran have lengthy talks with ADGP M R Ajith Kumar after police registered a case against Suresh,’’ Parambil asked.
Opposition leader V D Satheesan challenged the CM to hand over the case to CBI. “In the Solar scandal (which had emerged during the Congress regime), you had ordered a CBI probe (against Congress leaders including former chief minister Oommen Chandy). Similarly, are you ready for a CBI probe into the issue after taking a complaint from Suresh?” Satheesan asked.
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Vijayan, in his reply, said “Is the allegation that the Government attempted to make Suresh change her [CrPC section] 164 statement, backed by facts? This woman had given a statement as per [CrPC section] 164 in 2021 also. We are not worried about it.’’
Vijayan said the accused person (Suresh) has Sangh Parivar links. “The allegations are politically motivated. The central agencies had probed for two years, but did not reach anywhere. Now, the Opposition is highlighting it as something new. It is the BJP and the central agencies which have to answer many questions related to the smuggling case. But, the Opposition would not ask such questions which would irk the BJP,’’ Vijayan said.
Referring to the allegation of currency smuggling, Vijayan said the baggage of an individual does not have any diplomatic privilege. An individual’s baggage is subject to all examinations including scanning… It should have come out during scanning of the baggage at the airport. It is the Central Government that should answer to it. You (Opposition) would not ask them, he said.
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