Denying all allegations raised by Congress and BJP over the alleged links of Kerala Chief Minister's Office(CMO) to the gold smuggling case, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that "the controversial woman in gold smuggling case has no connection with CMO or IT department".
Addressing media persons via video conference here on Tuesday, Kerala Chief Minister refuted all allegation raised by the opposition regarding Kerala CMO connection with Swapna Suresh, a suspect in gold smuggling case and said the Kerala government has no role when it comes to operations of airports.
"This controversial woman in gold smuggling case has no connection with the Chief Minister's Office or IT department. How can this new gold smuggling case anyway related to state government? The parcel did not come to any of the state government agency. The parcel came for UAE consulate. If there is any failure how can state government be responsible? The state government has no role in it, " said Vijayan.
Regarding the ouster of M Sivashankar from the Principal Secretary and IT secretary posts, after the allegation was raised by opposition regarding his connection with Swapna Suresh, the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said: " Sivashankar was removed from CM's Principal Secretary post after there was allegation raised against him in public. But there is no legal case against him. Can UDF think of such an action? This woman was working as a marketing manager for a project under the IT department as a contract employee. She was taken through a placement agency. It was a normal procedure followed and I am not aware if she was taken under any recommendation."
The Chief Minister alleged that there is a conscious attempt to malign CMO in connection with gold smuggling case.
"Customs department has made it clear that nobody from CMO called them. These lies will not hold long. All airports are working under the central government and all facilities are provided by Centre. The state governments cannot do anything on it. It is the total responsibility of the Centre," he added.
When asked if State Government would refer the case to CBI, Vijayan said that it is for the Centre to decide.
"It is for the Centre to decide as I pointed out that all airports are operating under them. Customs is carrying out good work and I am sure all perpetrators behind this gold smuggling case will be brought to book," he said.
Opposition parties in the state, including the Congress and the BJP, levelled serious allegations that the Chief Minister's Office had links to Swapna Suresh, one of the suspects in the case related to the smuggling of gold using the diplomatic baggage system.
On Sunday, 30 Kilos of gold concealed in diplomatic baggage was seized at the Thiruvananthapuram international airport here by the customs department. The customs sources said Swapna is on the run while Sarith Kumar, a former consulate PRO, was taken into custody and after the interrogation, his arrest was recorded.
Swapna was employed in Space Park and Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited (KSITL), which comes under the IT department, a portfolio held by Vijayan. She was ousted after she was named as one of the accused in the gold smuggling case.
( With inputs from ANI )