Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], March 9 (ANI): Union Minister of State, V Muraleedharan on Tuesday hit back at Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's comment after he called Trivandrum Airport as the hub of gold smuggling. Muraleedharan, in response, alleged that Kerala Chief Minister is trying to duck away from his responsibilities.
Earlier today, Vijayan while addressing a gathering in Kannur had said: "Trivandrum Airport is completely under the control of central government. How did Trivandrum Airport become a hub of gold smuggling after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power? Amit Shah should answer it. Not Kerala CM but Amit Shah has the responsibility to answer it."
In response to the above statement, Union Minister Muraleedharan alleged that Kerala CM is trying to duck questions.
"The Kerala CM is trying to duck questions posed by Union Minister Amit Shah and has put some irrelevant issues before the public. He should respond to questions asked by Amit Shah regarding his relation with Swapna Suresh, prime accused in gold smuggling case," said Union Minister V Muraleedharan to ANI.
The Kerala gold smuggling case, which pertains to the smuggling of gold in the state through diplomatic channels, had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crores smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage was busted by the Customs in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5, 2020.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED), National Investigation Agency ( NIA) are also probing the case apart from Customs. During the probe, the investigation agencies had found that multiple times gold was smuggled to Kerala using the same modus operandi.
All cases pertaining to gold smuggling are in various courts after investigation agencies submitted charge sheet, and further investigation is progressing.
On January 20, the Kerala Chief Minister criticised the privatisation of Thiruvananthapuram airport and said the move comes at a time when an appeal in the matter is pending before the Supreme Court.
"The Kerala Government has approached the Supreme Court against the privatisation of Thiruvananthapuram airport. The case is under the consideration but, the Central government has signed the agreement due to its deep interest in this matter," he said.
Lashing out at the Centre in this matter, he said: "The Central government is continuously taking a stand against federal principles, it is neglecting the state's demands."
Amidst these developments, Kerala is also gearing up for Assembly polls.
The election for 140-member Kerala Assembly in 14 districts will be held in a single phase on April 6. The counting of votes will be held on May 2. The tenure of the 14th Kerala legislative assembly will come to an end on June 1, 2021. (ANI)