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Gold smuggling accused alleges Kerala CM of carrying "bundle of cash" to UAE

Gold smuggling accused alleges Kerala CM of carrying bundle of cash to UAE

Thiruvananthapuram: An accused in the gold smuggling scandal in Kerala has alleged that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan once carried a packet containing "a bundle of currency" through diplomatic cargo meant for the consulate to the UAE back in 2017.

The accused, PS Sarith, is Consulate's former staffer. The claim was made in a deposition he made in October.

The Customs had found illegal export of $190,000 by the consulate's former financial head, Khaled Mohamed Al Shoukry. They had mentioned the claim against the CM in show-cause notices issued to six people named in the case on July 29, reported The Indian Express.

The Kerala High Court stayed an order by the state government to appoint a Commission of Inquiry to look into any "attempt" by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to implicate the CM in the gold smuggling case. The court said that a parallel inquiry will "derail the investigation". The Pinarayi Vijayan government had appointed a CoI on May 7 but the ED filed a plea against it.

The CM's office responded to PS Sarith's claims and said that the issue does not require any reaction. "It had been debated a lot in the past. The matter is not going to affect us in any manner. The stated show-cause notices had been issued last month, but might have been leaked today against the backdrop of the court verdict," said The Indian Express report.

Six accused including Shoukry, Sarith, Swapna Suresh are told to file their response within 30 days. Swapna, (then executive secretary at the Consulate), and former principal secretary to Vijayan P Sivasankar, is also an accused in the gold smuggling case.

CPM leader and former Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan were questioned by the Customs in alleged smuggling of foreign currency. He was not sent a show-cause notice. He said that the investigators are convinced of his innocence after he gave the statement.Accused smuggler alleges Kerala CM of carrying "bundle of cash" to UAE

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TAGS:Pinarayi Vijayan 
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