Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], November 11 (ANI): On a day a special Kochi court extended the ED (Enforcement Directorate) custody of M Sivasankar, the former principal secretary of the chief minister, by a day in the Kerala gold smuggling case, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala on Wednesday said the central agency's submission proves that the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) was involved in the crime.
"It was from the CMO that calls were made to Customs to release the smuggled gold. (Chief Minister) Pinarayi Vijayan has been spreading lies. The Opposition and media had earlier pointed this out but the chief minister denied it. The CMO had an active role in gold smuggling and the ED submission proves it," the Congress leader said while addressing the media.
Chennithala alleged that Sivasankar and C M Raveendran, additional private secretary, were controlling the gold smuggling racket.
"The Kerala CMO leaked details of all development projects to (accused) Swapna Suresh and her team. Based on this, commissions were taken by Sivasankar and others, including the Life Mission project," he said.
He further alleged that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Kerala was eyeing commissions from large corporates after allotting them various government projects.
"It is feared that Pinarayi Vijayan will be named by probe agencies, which is why the government opposed the CBI probe into the Life Mission scam. Now, the party and the CM are targeting investigation agencies and have called for open protests against the central agencies," Chennithala added.
The case, which is currently being probed by the ED, the National Investigation Agency and the Customs Department, pertains to smuggling of gold in the state through diplomatic channels.
The matter had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crore, smuggled in a diplomatic cargo, was recovered by the Customs in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5.
Meanwhile, the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau named Sivasankar as the fifth accused in the Wadakkanchery Life Mission scam. (ANI)