It is Centre's responsibility to prevent gold smuggling: Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan
Thiruvananthapuram, July 28: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said the power and responsibility to crackdown on gold smuggling rackets rest solely with the Centre and its agencies and the state government has nothing to do in it.
The Customs and airport security do not come under the jurisdiction of the state, he told the state Assembly during the zero hour. Vijayan was replying to a notice seeking an adjournment motionmoved by the Congress-led UDF opposition alleging attempts to sabotage a gold smuggling case in which local leaders of the the ruling CPI(M)'s youth wing Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) are allegedly involved.
The opposition raised doubts about the death of Ramees K C, a friend of the main accused in the Karipur gold smuggling case Arjun Ayanki, following a road accident soon after he was summoned by the Customs for interrogation in connection with the case.
Dismissing the opposition version of "mysterious death", the Chief Minister, however, said as per the medical reports, the critical injuries to the head and ribs caused in the accident had claimed his life. It was prima facie a case of accident death according to police and Ramees, who had driven the bike without wearing a helmet, had turned his vehicle carelessly and rammed it into a car, he said.
On the alleged involvement of local party activists in the illegal transfer of the gold through airports, he said the state government has nothing to do in it as the Customs is a central subject.
"The Central government has the absolute power and responsibility to prevent transfer of articles through airports without paying the customs duty. The Customs falls under the union list of the seventh schedule of the Constitution," Vijayan reminded the opposition.
However, the state government had taken stringent measures in the cases of law and order issues related to the sale of the smuggled gold, brought due to the lapses of the agencies concerned, he added. Stating that investigation is progressing into the death of Ramees, he said the opposition came up with the matter as they were facing dearth of topics to be raised in the House.
Congress legislator and former Home minister, Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, who sought notice, said it is the responsibility of the Chief Minister to ensure law and order in the state and asked whether it was suitable for him to evade from the responsibility.
He also alleged that Ayanki had a 50-member criminal gang, named in local parlance as kuruvi (sparrows), to loot the smuggled gold brought through airports. Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly VD Satheesan said the Chief Minister was even reluctant to utter the names of criminals involved in the gold smuggling in the House.
The goons, who were used by the CPI(M) to annihilate their political opponents, were now using their party affiliation to cover up their criminal activities including extortion and murder, he alleged. The opposition later staged a walkout after Speaker MB Rajesh rejected leave for the motion.