Updated: June 26, 2021 8:32:48 am
A probe into the Monday death of five members of a gang which attempted to rob 2.33 kg of gold smuggled from Dubai to Kozhikode in Kerala has led to a man with links to the ruling CPI(M).
Customs is on the lookout for Arjun Ayanki, who, according to police, had reached the Kozhikode airport to collect the smuggled gold. Arjun is very active on social media as a CPI(M) campaigner and had earlier held the post of unit secretary of the DYFI, the youth wing of CPI(M), in his native Kannur.
Arjun has gone into hiding but in a Facebook post said that the party was not liable to answer for the personal allegations against him. “I have not been a member of the CPI (M) or DYFI for the last three years. I am engaged in an ideological campaign for the party without expecting any reward. I would prove my innocence,” he wrote.
The gold in question had been smuggled in from Dubai for a gang based in Kozhikode district’s Koduvally by a passenger, even as Arjun allegedly waited outside the airport to collect it. However, another gang from Cherpulassery in Palakkad district reached the airport to rob the gold.
According to police, the plans of both gangs and Arjun went awry when Customs seized the gold. As Arjun went back empty handed, the Cherpulassery gang began chasing him, but turned back towards the airport after realising that the gold had been confiscated by Customs.
It was during this return journey that one of the three SUVs belonging to the Cherpulassery gang met with an accident, killing five.
In Kannur district, political parties allegedly hired gangs for political attacks in the past. However, the parties are now distancing themselves from the gangs, which have become a liability. Thus, the gangs are now turning to more lucrative ventures, such as smuggling or looting of gold. This apparent shift has become evident after incidents of political violence have come down sharply in Kannur.
CPI(M) Kannur district secretary M V Jayarajan said the members quotation gangs (a phrase used for contract criminals) would not have any role in the party.
“The party has not assigned any quotation gangs with the task of social media campaigning. A few names associated with the gold smuggling have come out. They have taken up social media campaigns to get an acceptance in society. People should realize the trap and treachery behind the social media activities of the gang members,” he said.
He said the party will launch a massive campaign against these gangs and related social evils on July 5. The campaign would be staged at 3,800-odd centres in the district, he said.
Meanwhile, Customs sources said this is the first time that Arjun has come under their radar. “We have served a notice that he should appear before the Customs on next Monday. The arrested passenger, from whom the gold was seized, had stated that he had no prior acquaintance with Arjun,” an official said.
Social media accounts showed Arjun is close to Akash Thillankery, a former CPI(M) worker who has been arrested for the 2018 murder of Youth Congress worker Shuhaib in Kannur. Akash was sacked from the party after his arrest.
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