Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday slammed the Central agencies, especially the Customs and the Enforcement Directorate, claiming that they cannot tarnish the image of the Left government in the state, which is like an open book.
“Everybody knows that with Assembly elections round the corner, the Central agencies are trying their best to put pressure on the government. But the image of the Left government in Kerala cannot be tarnished by these agencies,” Vijayan said.
Vijayan’s remarks followed the surfacing of a statement about Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case, by the Customs and another by Sumit Kumar, Customs Commissioner (Preventive), which could spell trouble for the Chief Minister, three of his Cabinet colleagues and Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan.
The statement about Suresh, which surfaced in the media on Friday, read: “Her close connection with the Chief Minister and his principal secretary and a personal staff was also revealed by her. She has also stated with clarity about smuggling of foreign currency at the instance of the Chief Minister and the Speaker with the help of the Consulate. She has also clearly stated about the improper and illegal activities of three ministers of the state cabinet and the Speaker. She has further stated about the involvement and the kickbacks received by high-profile persons from various deals.
“She has stated that she is aware of all these transactions and was a witness to the same as she is well versed in Arabic language and hence was forced to act as the translator between the above said persons and the persons of Middle East origin in all their crucial interactions.”
The Customs statement, which is before the high court, added, “The role of the former principal secretary (M. Sivasankar) in acting as the link between the high-profile politicians of Kerala and the UAE Consulate officials as well as some others and in coordinating the illegal financial dealings under the cover of various activities and projects of the state government was also revealed by her.”
Vijayan said that none should forget that the Central agencies — NIA, Customs and ED — had kept Suresh under their custody for long periods soon after her arrest in July last year.
“There was no such revelations then, while the NIA had also said that there was nothing. Generally, the first statement of the accused reveals the truth. But the statement that surfaced the other day was taken in November. It’s also baffling to note that how come a statement given under Section 164 is out in the open, as generally it is made available only to the probe officials,” Vijayan said.
“We are supremely confident that the people of Kerala believe in us and they know that all this muck is happening because of the efforts of a section of people in these probe agencies and due to the combined efforts of the Kerala BJP and Congress, who are out to tarnish the image of the Left government.
“We are in the hearts of the people of Kerala and we know that, so does the people of the state. That is our strength. We will not bow before anyone and walk with our head held high as people know that our lives are like an open book,” the Chief Minister said.
Earlier on Saturday, the workers of the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) hit the streets and marched towards the Customs offices in the state capital, Kochi and Kozhikode, to protest the action of the central agency.