In a bid to turn table on Congress in the gold smuggling case, CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Friday said Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala has violated protocol norms by allegedly accepting gift from key accused in case Swapna Suresh, a former executive secretary at UAE Consulate.
After it was exposed that Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel has been in touch with the consulate and Suresh without complying the protocol norms dealing with a foreign mission, Opposition Congress has demanded his resignation. The issue got a new twist the other day after managing director of UNITAC builders Santhos Eapen, in an affidavit, told the high court that he had purchased an iphone for Chennithala at the behest of Suresh. Eapen filed the affidavit in the court challenging the CBI probe into a housing project of the state government, funded by Emirates Red Crescent. Eapen had bagged the construction contract. CBI is probing the issue over FCRA violations.
Eapen told the court that he had paid Rs 3.80 crore to a staff at the Consulate and Rs 60 lakh to another co-accused in the smuggling case. Besides six iphones have been bought, at the behest of Suresh, to be given as a gift for dignitaries attending the UAE National Day celebrations on December 2 last year. Chennithala was one of the dignitaries at the event. Eapen, however, did not mention the other names allegedly accepted the gift.
After the party secretariat meeting, Balakrishnan told the media that the CHennithala had demanded Jaleel’s resignation on charges of accepting Ouran and dates from UAE Consulate in violation of protocol. Now, Chennithala himself has violated the protocol. Chennithala should prove his innocence in the allegation against him. Protocol norms are applicable for the Opposition leader also, he said.
Chennithala said he had attended UAE national day along with BJP legislator O Rajagopal and CPI (M) leader M Vijayakumar. “How, attending the function would amount to protocol violation. I have filed a complaint with the police to probe who is using the iphone, which Eapen has stated to have purchased for me as a gift. This is a totally baseless and fabricated allegation. I haven’t accepted any gift from anyone during that function. The allegation would not weaken the Opposition attack against the Government,’’ he said.
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