Cong protests against Vijayan, asks him to face probe in gold smuggling case

Thiruvananthapuram, Jul 2 (IANS): The Congress-led opposition in Kerala on Saturday stepped up their protest against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan demanding to face a probe over the allegations levelled by Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in gold smuggling case.

The UDF top brass organised massive protests all across the state in the 14 district headquarters on Saturday.

At several places, the police had to use water cannons to disperse the protesters.

Present on the occasion were all the top leaders of the UDF at these 14 locations.

Last month confessing before a magistrate under Section 164 (5) of the Criminal Procedure Act, Swapna Suresh said that the Chief Minister, his wife and daughter were involved in smuggling currency and gold to and from Kerala.

Later, she revealed more things about the role of Vijayan and his family and said that first Vijayan said he never knew her, then said he has seen her with the UAE Consular general who came to visit him.

Swapna revealed that she was present at the official residence of Vijayan on numerous occasions and on some she was alone and held discussions on various topics.

The Congress-led UDF took up this issue in the fresh assembly session which is presently underway and Vijayan, while agreeing to discuss the issue in the floor of the assembly, failed to give the required answers on various topics raised by the opposition.

Then the Congress decided that they will take to the streets to protest against Vijayan demanding him to face a probe in this issue.

They have cited the example how his predecessor and Congress veteran Oommen Chandy initiated a judicial probe by a retired judge in the Solar scam (2014) after coming under flak from the then Vijayan-led opposition.

Vijayan has come under attack from not just the opposition, but also the media as they have started replaying the words and sentences that Vijayan as the CPI-M state secretary spoke against Chandy, when he led the protests demanding him to quit between 2014 and 2016.

Leader of Opposition V. D. Satheesan said Vijayan will not be allowed to wriggle out from the position as he is now got entangled following the revelations.

"He must face a probe as the allegations levelled have never been heard before against any chief minister in the country. If he thinks these are all baseless allegations, then why is he not seeking legal redress, as the charges are all very grave. Since he is not doing this for obvious reasons, he has no other way but to face a probe," said Satheesan who was leading the protests at Trissur.

With the protests now spilling on to the streets, the opposition is going to increase its protests inside the floor of the assembly when it meets on Monday.

The only relief for Vijayan so far is that the Left Democratic Front is united and supporting Vijayan, but with more and more revelations, murmurs have begun in the allies of the CPI-M, and all eyes are on how far this silence in the ruling dispensation will continue.



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Title: Cong protests against Vijayan, asks him to face probe in gold smuggling case

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