Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 14 (PTI) The CPI(M) on Monday
charged Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan
of trying to ''influence'' the probe in the gold smuggling case
and demanded his resignation.
The party said he had all along been insisting that the
bag in which 30 kg of gold was seized by customs officials on
July 5 was not diplomatic cargo.
However this had been proved wrong when the Finance
Ministry informed Parliament today that it was smuggled
through diplomatic baggage and that the Finance Ministry had
been informed of it in July, the CPI(M) state secretariat said
in a statement.
"Muraleedharan does not have the right to remain in office
and should resign. If he refuses to do so, the Prime
Minister should remove him from the post," the party said.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters that
Muraleedharan was not functioning as per the position he is
During multiple occasions, Muraleedharan had told the
media that the baggage was not a diplomatic one.
The Left party pointed out that even the National
Investigation Agency, one of the agencies probing the case,
besides the Customs and Enforcement Directorate, had also
mentioned in a report in court that the gold was smuggled in a
"Even after all this, Muraleedharan still maintains that
the baggage was not a diplomatic one.
The Finance Ministry has also informed Parliament that
the External Affairs Ministry gave permission to inspect the
bag after confirming that it was a diplomatic one.
The statements by Muraleedharan are to influence the
probe in the case," CPI(M) said.
The party also said that the key accused in the case had
given a statement to the NIA that the coordinating editor of a
BJP-aligned channel, Anil Nambiar, had asked her to tell the
customs officials that the baggage was not a diplomatic one.
"It''s also suspicious that some members of the Customs
investigation team were removed from the case after he was
questioned," the CPI(M) said.
The party pointed out that the NIA had submitted in
court that smuggling had taken place many times, which would
not have been possible without the help of higher officials in
It alleged that smuggling through diplomatic channels had
become rampant after Muraleedharam assumed office.
The party also alleged that the opposition Congress led
United Democratic Front (UDF) had joined hands with the BJP to
indulge in violent protests to derail the probe and draw
attention away from the investigation.
The Customs department had on July 5 seized diplomatic
baggage with over 30 kg of gold worth Rs 15 crore and has
arrested many people, including former employees of the UAE
Consulate. PTI RRT APR
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI
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