Kerala gold smuggling: CM Vijayan denies Swapna Suresh's charge on travel baggage
Thiruvananthapuram, Jun 28: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said he had visited Dubai five times so far since 2016 after he assumed the top office and never forgot to take any of his baggage on the trip as alleged by gold smuggling case prime accused Swapna Suresh.
Vijayan's reply assumed significance in the wake of startling charges raised by Suresh, also a former employee at the UAE Consulate here, that the Chief Minister had forgotten to take a baggage and it was asked to be delivered to Dubai immediately during his 2016 trip.
Suresh, in a series of recent press conferences, also alleged that the package was found to contain currency notes and it was later sent to Dubai through a diplomat as per the instructions of the then Consulate General. However, in a single-line reply, Vijayan rejected the charges and made it clear that he did not forget to take his baggage during the Dubai trip.
Vijayan gave the written reply in the state Assembly on Monday to a question raised by opposition Congress MLA Anwar Sadath. To another question whether the allegations were factual, he replied that there was no relevance for such a question.
Stating that all his trips to Dubai were purely for official purposes, Vijayan also gave detailed replies to the related queries about his programmes and meetings there.
However, Chief Minister's former principal secretary M Sivasankar, who was suspended and jailed in connection with the gold smuggling case, reportedly said in an earlier statement to the Customs officials that a baggage was sent to Dubai through a diplomat when Vijayan was there and it comprised some mementos to be delivered during the CM's function there.
He reportedly said in the statement that it was decided to entrust a person to physically carry the baggage to Dubai to avoid any delay in the delivery and the help was offered by the Consulate General.
The IAS officer had also reportedly said, in his statement, that the packages had reached the state delegation in Dubai ahead of time before the first meeting of the Chief Minister took place there.