GOLD SMUGGLING .. Kodiyeri says Union minister V Muraleedharan in the shadow of doubt vis-a-vis TVM gold hunt


 TVM: CPIM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Saturday said Union minister V Muraleedharan is in the shadow of doubt over the gold smuggling case in the local airport here.

Kodiyeri pointed out that it was a Sangh Parivar activist who intervened to release the UAE diplomatic baggage in which the gold was smuggled in. “Then, Muraleedharan said this was not diplomatic bag. But, now the National Investigating Agency (NIA) which took over the investigations says the 3okg gold consignment was smuggled into TVM by diplomatic bags,” Kodiyeri noted.In this context, Muraleedharan is in the shadow of doubt,” Kodiyeri said.
Notably some top level political leaders, including Muraleedharan, are cautious about making comments in relation to the Swapna Suresh-led gang’s gold smuggling.

This, even as the state government and the national exchequer are losing huge sums, hundreds of crores by way of tax, from gold smuggling, the bulk of which is done through Kerala airports and sea ports. Some terrorist-links are also suspected as those who financed terror-activities in Kashmir etc faced difficulty in getting funds after PM Modi demonetized high-value currency notes. The UAE Consul General in TVM, silent so far, will be interrogated by the Customs soon, with permission for this coming already from the UAE government via the central government.

Swapna had said in an audio she released a few days ago that she called up the customs after the Consul general asked her to help release the diplomatic baggage.It is well-known that the gold smuggling rackets keeps all top influential leaders, both in the ruling and opposition sides, in good humour by parting with a chunk of the money they earn from this racket. Pakistani connection is also suspected in the gold smuggling racket via Kerala. The investigation was handed over to the NIA in this context. However, as in several past instances, since these gangs have direct links with top Customs officials and top politicians, cases hardly reach anywhere. It is hardly that the guilty or the kingpin is punished. Be it the UPA governments or the NDA led by Modi, the scenario is the same.

Despite big talks, Narendra Modi has not been able to make any difference to the scenario. There are also those who stress that the CPIM too is a beneficiary of these rackets and hence the CM kept looking the other way on this matter so far. Now, he has written to PM Modi to investigate the matter. Political parties are run by filthy, unaccounted money. Part of the money collected from such gangs go into party work and another part into the pockets of political leaders. Notably, some top Congress leaders as also UDF leaders like PK Kunhalikutty are mostly playing hide and seek, after the Swapna Suresh racket got exposed. It is also known that rivalry among sections in the state Customs ultimately led one side to tip off some Customs officials about the arrival of the gold via diplomatic baggage.

The chief of the Customs in TVM was allegedly in half a mind to release the consignment, by noting that diplomatic baggage is exempted from search. Some upright officials refused to budge; and some saw this as an opportunity to fix their rivals. A sharp question is also being asked now, as to “who was getting their money when the UDF was in power in the state and the UPA in Delhi,” vis-a-vis the TVM operations, and how much police help went in for the transport of thse consignments in the state without  any hasssle. This is seen as one reason why some top UDF leaders are ducking now when it comes to the diplomatic baggage issue. IHN-NN


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