Thiruvananthapuram: The CPM-led government in Kerala, which is in the dock over the sensational gold smuggling case and the Life Mission housing project, continued its criticism of M. Sivasankar, the former principal secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Already two state ministers - Kadakampally Surendran and G. Sudhakaran - have targeted Sivasankar and on Thursday it was the turn of state Law Minister A.K. Balan.
"We were not able to deal with Sivasankar properly and we realised that very late. There are a few like him here. We do not know if the Congress-led UDF had dealt with him, as he during their tenure was engaged in a huge loss-making power purchase agreement," said Balan.
Vijayan's pet project 'Life Mission' is a scheme to build homes for the homeless and landless and he has always praised his government's initiative, but it has come under a cloud similar to the gold smuggling racket.
The prime accused in the gold smuggling case - Swapna Suresh - was also involved in this project as she is alleged to have received a huge commission for ensuring the participation of the UAE-based Red Crescent group and had routed it through the UAE consulate in Kerala, where she was a former employee.
Vijayan lost his cool a number of times when this question was posed to him by the media as more and more revelations have come out including the manner in which Swapna Suresh got a huge sum as commission.
The Congress and BJP have been demanding Vijayan's resignation alleging this was a fraudulent deal done with the knowledge of top officials.
Vijayan, who is presently under self-isolation, has now asked for all the files pertaining to the Life Mission project to be brought to his official residence.
In a related development, the NIA will be asking the CEO of Life Mission - a senior IAS official - to appear before it.
The Rs 20 crore Life Mission project is coming up in Thrissur district and local Congress legislator Anil Akara on Thursday accused Vijayan of "telling lies" about this project right from day one.
"Right from day one when this controversy surfaced, Vijayan has been telling lies and now all his lies have fallen flat. More and more things will again come out on the way the government has handled this project," said Akara.
The gold smuggling racket was unearthed when P.S. Sarith, a former employee of the UAE consulate here, was arrested by the Customs Department on July 5 when he was facilitating smuggling of 30 kg gold in diplomatic baggage to Thiruvananthapuram from Dubai.
The case turned murkier as Swapna Suresh's links with Sivasankar surfaced. IAS officer Sivasankar was subsequently removed from both his posts and then suspended by Vijayan.