Slugfest in Kerala assembly over CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s role in gold smuggling, havala scandals

K RAVEENDRAN | Updated on: Thursday, January 14, 2021, 09:22 PM IST

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan | File Photo
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan | File Photo

Thiruvananthapuram: The Opposition UDF used the discussion on the notice for an adjournment motion in the state assembly about the gold smuggling-havala scandals to launch a personalised attack against Pinarayi Vijayan, which provoked the chief minister to lose his cool.

What provoked Vijayan so much was the comparison of him by P T Thomas, the mover of the adjournment motion, as Dhritarashtra who was done in by the love of his son. Thomas alleged that the chief minister was destroying the state for the sake of his daughter, whose name has often been dragged into the scandals rocking the communist government.

The personal attack prompted a no-holds-barred counter-attack, asserting that he was made of different material that the opposition has no idea about. He warned the opposition benchers not to scare him about jail when they remarked that he would be the first chief minister to go behind bars.

The opposition speakers claimed that M Sivasankar, his former principal secretary, had told the investigators that Vijayan was such a simpleton that he would sign on a tissue paper if presented to him by the officials.

They said the chief minister’s office had become the hub for anti-national activities as he was turning a blind eye to the goings-on in his office. They claimed that posterity would record Pinarayi Vijayan as an underworld don.

Leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala made another sensational claim that the ruling CPM has made a neat killing of Rs 100 crore from the state government’s latest decision to increase the price of liquor. This government has raised the price by 14 per cent in two instalments and the decision was made at AKG Bhavan, the party headquarters, Chennithala added.

The chief minister asserted that he can understand the wish by the opposition to see him charged under UAPA, but that it will remain a pipedream. Refuting the charge that the chief minister has propped up PR agencies, Vijayan said he had come through the fire in life and he did not need anyone’s help to prove his credentials.

Refuting the charge that gold smuggling prime accused Swapna Suresh had visited Cliff House, the residence of the chief minister, on the eve of his daughter’s marriage, Vijayan claimed that the opposition was spinning out baseless stories. He also denied that anyone in his house was questioned by the central investigating agencies.

The chief minister claimed that Sivasankar was conferred with the IAS during the rule of Congress chief minister A K Antony in 1990, which was disputed by the opposition, saying that he was distorting facts.

Defending his private secretary CM Raveendran, who was questioned by Customs after he refused to present himself before the investigators for three times, Vijayan said he was only called for seeking certain information and that the agency has found nothing wrong with him.

As expected, the adjournment motion was disallowed, following which the entire opposition staged a walkout.

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Published on: Thursday, January 14, 2021, 09:22 PM IST