Tue, 11 Aug 2020

Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], July 7 (ANI): After the opposition allegation over alleged nexus between Kerala Chief Minister's Office with an accused in the gold smuggling case, the state government has removed M Sivasankar from the post of principal secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

In a one-liner, the Chief Minister's Office told the media that Mir Mohammed has been given the additional charge of secretary to the Chief Minister.

Sivasankar is still holding the charge of the IT secretary. Sources told ANI that he has applied for a long leave after opposition parties accused Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan of shielding the IAS officer.

The development comes a day after the 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, thirty kilogrammes 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.

Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala has alleged that Swapna was working in the IT department under the Government of Kerala and demanded a CBI probe in the matter.

BJP state president K Surendran also alleged that the first call to protect Swapna was from CMO.

The Chief Minister, on the other hand, has assured that the investigation in the matter can continue in a proper way and expressed confidence that the probe team will bring all the culprits to justice.

"We all know that this is the biggest seizure of smuggling gold. I appreciate the officers. I understand that authorities have got specific details about the people involved in it. The investigation will continue in a proper way. I believe the investigation team can bring all the culprits to justice," Vijayan said in a press conference yesterday.

The Chief Minister also said that some people are trying to link the incident with the CMO and advised that they should understand that customs is investigating the case properly.

"I believe they will investigate it properly. Anyone related to it will not be able to escape. The important thing is that people behind this should be brought to justice," he said.

Vijayan said that the investigation in the matter is underway and added that the state government will offer all support to the investigating agency.

Speaking about Swapna's appointment in the IT department, Vijayan said that he was not aware of it.

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. (ANI)

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