Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to protest the line of inquiry taken by central agencies probing the gold smuggling case in the state and sought his intervention to ensure that the “contours of Constitutional division of powers” are followed.
The letter, written on Wednesday, came after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the CBI, which are probing various aspects of the gold smuggling case since early July, began widening the scope of their probe, encompassing key projects and important figures in the state government.
On Thursday, the ED questioned the Chief Minister’s Additional Private Secretary, C M Raveendran, in the gold smuggling case. Raveendran had earlier failed to turn up before the agency.
In his letter, Vijayan alleged that the central agencies are “conducting fishing and roving enquiries to find out whether there is any chance to allege any offence in a situation where the agencies have not been able to find anything specific against the state government”.
Widening probe scanner
Seeking corrective steps, Vijayan wrote: “Orchestrated campaigns to defame the political leadership of the State Government are being carried out in a consistent manner seemingly with the cooperation of the certain officials of the investigating agencies. This is evident in the news leaked out regarding alleged contents of a sworn statement recorded before a magistrate at the instance of the Customs Department.”
The Chief Minister stated that the agencies, instead of carrying out an effective inquiry into the gold smuggling case, have been doing anything but. “The statements given by the accused/witnesses are being selectively leaked to the media. The information regarding issuance of the summons get into the knowledge of the media even before the person addressed in the summons receives it,” he wrote.
Five months into the gold smuggling probe, he said, neither the source nor the end utilisation of gold which has been smuggled has been unravelled. “No headway has been made in apprehending the suspected abroad. Instead, the aim of the central agencies seem to be tarnishing the image of the state government,” Vijayan said.
Vijayan took strong exception to ED seeking details of state government’s flagship projects such as LIFE MISSION, K-FON (free internet connections for the poor), electricity vehicle policy etc. He wrote: “The ED had crossed all limits while probing the case. In a co-operative federal setup, Central investigating agencies have to follow the contours of constitutional division of powers. Any transgression of the same, by conducting roving enquiries and proceeding on fishing expeditions to review the projects of the state government with the intention of fault finding is not within the province of the central government investigating agencies.”
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