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Friday, April 16, 2021

Customs dept doing BJP’s campaign in Kerala: Pinarayi

Quoting a statement made by gold smuggling case accused Swapna Suresh in court under Section 164 CrPC, the Customs department had on Thursday submitted an affidavit stating that foreign currency had been smuggled out at the instance of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram |
March 7, 2021 2:28:47 am
Pinarayi Vijayan

Hitting back at the Customs, which had submitted an affidavit linking the Chief Minister, his Cabinet colleagues and the Assembly Speaker in the case on smuggling of foreign currency, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday said the central agency has suo motu taken over the election campaign in Kerala.

Quoting a statement made by gold smuggling case accused Swapna Suresh in court under Section 164 CrPC, the Customs department had on Thursday submitted an affidavit stating that foreign currency had been smuggled out at the instance of Vijayan and Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan. The department submitted the affidavit in a state government petition challenging a lower court order to give special protection to Swapna.

On Saturday, LDF workers marched to Customs offices in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode to protest the Customs affidavit in HC.

Vijayan said the Customs department has started political work during the elections. “The intentions of the investigating agency and the alliance of the Congress and the BJP are not going to work here. We will face it… People of the state would not blame us. Because, our life is before them like an open book,’’ he said.

He said, “All I have to say to the BJP and the agencies that dance to their tunes is this; we are not the kind of people you are accustomed to dealing with. We are different. No matter what you do, this land will not blame us. Our lives are open books, and you will soon realise it.”

Referring to the affidavit, Vijayan said, “The Customs Commissioner has quoted certain names in the statement given in court by the accused (Swapna Suresh) in November (last year). He has given the statement in a Criminal Miscellaneous petition, in which Swapna and the Customs preventive superintendent are respondents. It is unprecedented that the commissioner, who is not a respondent in the petition, (is) giving a statement before court.’’

Vijayan said Swapna had been in the custody of various central agencies since July 2020. “What is the reason behind her stating some great thing before the Customs alone,” he asked. “The Customs and those (who) worked behind the statement should give answers. The High Court had ordered that the statement as per (CrPC) 164 should not be revealed. The (Customs) commissioner has ventured to defame the Speaker and Cabinet members. It is an attempt to protect the narrow interest of the party ruling at the Centre.”

He also said investigating agencies are using “illegal ways” to further their interest. Stating that no such allegations came up in the NIA’s investigation, the Kerala CM said, “Now they are looking at how to use investigating agencies for political purposes. We can understand the helplessness of investigating agencies. No investigating agency should have gone (ahead in) this manner. In this case, the agency has been prevented from functioning in the right direction. They are forced to move as per the direction of their masters…”

Accusing opposition Congress and BJP of working together on this, Vijayan said, “They want to destroy the LDF. (But) we haven’t done anything that you can destroy. In the last five years, we have done only things which a government ought to do. The LDF would go ahead with (its) development activities. The BJP and the Congress should realise that they are besmearing the people of this state.”

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