Opposition Parties in Kerala Demand CM's Resignation over Gold Smuggling Case, Plan Statewide Protests

Opposition Parties in Kerala Demand CM's Resignation over Gold Smuggling Case, Plan Statewide Protests

Escalating their attack against the left government in the state in the gold smuggling case, opposition parties in Kerala on Wednesday demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan over the allegations raised by them against his office in the matter.

The opposition has been up in arms against the government over the recent seizure of over 30 kg of gold from the International Airport which was attempted to be smuggled into the state through diplomatic baggage.

"The chief minister's office is under the shadow of doubt. The Chief Minister should resign and face the probe. The United Democratic Front demands the resignation and we have planned widespread protests in the state following all the COVID-19 protocols," said Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala.

With the Congress and BJP stepping up their attack,the left government on Tuesday removed M Sivasankar, who was the secretary to the Chief Minister and the IT Principal secretary, after the opposition targeted him for the appointment of a woman official of the IT department alleged to be the 'kingpin' and who was being investigated by the Crime Branch in another case.

Soon after he was removed as secretary to CM, Sivasankar went on leave from his IT post. Subsequently, he was removed from that post too.

Vijayan had yesterday dismissed all the allegations and said the "controversial woman" was not associated with the Chief Minister's office.

Chennithala alleged that the woman was a known person to the chief minister and she was appointed in the IT department under Vijayan.

"Some media reports have come out citing the illegal dealings of the former IT secretary with the controversial woman. The same woman was the coordinator of the Space Conclave which was organised for the state government. How can the chief minister say that he was unaware of such a person who handled a major event in the state," Chennithala asked.

Chennithala has also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a CBI probe into the matter, saying the seized gold worth "Rs 30 crore illegally brought to our country" from a consignment was addressed to the "UAE consulate."