Kerala’s CPI(M)-led Govt confronted with its worst crisis

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on October 30, 2020

After arrest of CM’s former principal chief secretary M Srivasankar in gold smuggling case, the son of State Secretary of CPI (M) has been held by ED for money laundering

The Ruling Left Democratic Government (LDF) in Kerala has suffered major setbacks with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) recording the arrests of M Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in Kochi, and Bineesh Kodiyeri, son of Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, State Secretary of coalition leader CPI(M), in Bengaluru.

What should be even more mortifying for the LDF and the CPI(M) is the fact that both arrests have been recorded by the ED, though at different places, on charges such as allegedly amassing ill-gotten funds to abetting their deployment for patently unlawful activities, according to seasoned observers.

Former top bureaucrat and Chief Minister’s confidante Sivasankar has been held on charges of allegedly misusing his office and abeting smuggling of gold through the diplomatic channels via the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport in July.

As for Bineesh Kodiyeri, the ED said that he had allegedly credited ‘huge amount of unaccounted funds’ into bank accounts of a drug peddler. He was arrested under the anti-money laundering law in Bengaluru, following which he was sent to custody till November 2.

An LDF spokesman tried to defend itself saying that neither of the arrested persons is connected with the party or the government nor should it cause any undue concern for the government whose ‘track of welfare politics and development’ would weigh in with the public at large.

Congress, BJP go Opposition on offensive

The Opposition Congress and BJP have escalated their campaign demanding the resignation of the Chief Minister. The State goes to the local body polls in December, followed by those to the Assembly early next year.

CPM Central Committee member MV Govindan said the Congress and the BJP had scant credibility and the public would see through their lies and vote for the welfare and development policies of the government.

“Two ministers involved”

BJP State president K Surendran alleged that the Central agencies have been probing the role of at least two ministers of the Pinarayi Vijayan cabinet in the gold smuggling case. He refused to identify them and claimed their “discreditable” activities would be exposed sooner than later.

According to him, the Central law enforcement agencies are “closing in on them.” Two officials attached to the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) too are under their scanner. Surendran went on to charge that Chief Minister Vijayan has been the “kingpin of the smuggling racket.”

Leader of Opposition and Congressman Ramesh Chennithala said that the simultaneous investigations into the smuggling racket could implicate more officials in the CMO. The ED and Customs would question them soon. “The Chief Minister would be next in line,” he claimed. Sivasankar was just a “pawn” in the hands of the Chief Minister, he alleged.

Published on October 30, 2020

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