Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], March 28 (ANI): By issuing an order to conduct a judicial inquiry against the central agencies probing gold smuggling and dollar smuggling cases, the Kerala government is challenging the federal structure of the Constitution, said Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday.
Singh in a press conference in Thiruvananthapuram said, "Kerala Cabinet has taken a decision to hold a judicial inquiry against central agencies probing the gold smuggling scam. It means that the Kerala government is challenging the federal structure of the Constitution."
The Kerala Cabinet on Friday recommended a judicial probe against central investigation agencies subject to approval from the Election Commission, following an ongoing probe into several cases, including the Kerala gold smuggling case.
The decision was taken at a virtual cabinet meeting here chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Terming it an election stunt, United Democratic Front (UDF) convenor MM Hassan said, "The state government does not have the power to take such a case. This is to subvert the current investigation."
He further said, "The decision to conduct a judicial inquiry against the central agencies investigating gold smuggling and dollar smuggling cases involving the Chief Minister and the Speaker is not correct, it is a farce."
The Cabinet has appointed Retired Judge KV Mohanan as the Commissioner. He will consider the controversial audio recording of Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the gold smuggling case, and a letter written by co-accused PS Sarith.
The Kerala gold smuggling case, which is being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA,) along with the Enforcement Directorate and the customs department, pertains to the smuggling of gold in the state through diplomatic channels.
The matter had come to light after 30-kilogram gold worth Rs 14.82 crores, smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage, was busted by customs in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5 last year.
The customs department had also arrested Unitac Builders MD Santhosh Eappen also in a US Dollar smuggling case.
The election for the 140-member Kerala assembly in 14 districts will be held in a single phase on April 6. The counting of votes will take place on May 2. (ANI)