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Kerala: Opposition steps up attack on Vijayan govt amid controversy

PTI/Thiruvananthapuram
Filed on October 31, 2020

Bineesh was arrested by the ED in connection with a drugs-related money laundering case.

The opposition Congress and the BJP in Kerala continued their protests on Friday seeking the resignation of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan over the arrest of his former principal secretary M Sivasankar and Bineesh Kodiyeri, son of the state CPI(M) chief, by the Enforcement Directorate in different cases.

The youth and women's wing of the Congress and the BJP, staged protests at various places across the state.

Police resorted to the use of water cannons at Kozhikode after Yuva Morcha workers tried to break the police barricades.

Mahila Congress members staged protests in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam seeking the resignation of the chief minister.

Protesters burnt effigies of Vijayan and CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan at various places.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala told reporters that both the CPI(M) and the state government were under the scanner of probe agencies and sought the resignation of the chief minister.

"The party is in shambles after the four-and-a-half- year-long rule of Pinarayi Vijayan. It is the chief minister who is the prime accused in the gold smuggling case and all other related matters. Both the party and the government are under the scanner," Chennithala alleged.

Meanwhile, the BJP state unit said the central leadership of the Communist party was afraid of questioning the state leadership.

"His (CM''s) explanation and the reply by the central leadership yesterday...is a farce. The chief minister did not answer any question from the reporters. The CPI(M) is now disowning Bineesh Kodiyeri. The party is lying," BJP state chief K Surendran told the media.

However, the CPI, a major ally of the ruling Left Front, came out in support and said it has now become clear that the Centre was using the probe agencies to target the Left.

"The case against Bineesh is one related to PMLA. Not any drug case. That''s what we know. Media, however, claims otherwise. Let the investigation go on. We have earlier said that the centre was using the probe agencies for political gains," CPI state chief Kanam Rajendran told the media.

"We will move forward by explaining the conspiracy behind this probe and vilification by the central agencies," he added.

Bineesh was arrested by the ED in connection with a drugs-related money laundering case.

He was arrested under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and the agency wants to put him through custodial interrogation for "financing a drugs network", ED sources had said.

The ED probe stems from a case being investigated by the Narcotics Control Bureau that claimed to have busted an ecstasy pills drug trafficking racket in Karnataka in August.

The NCB had arrested M Anoop, Anikha D, R Ravindran and had said it seized 145 ecstasy or MDMA pills and over Rs 2.20 lakh cash from a hotel apartment here that time.

On Thursday, Sivasankar was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate probing the money trail in the gold smuggling case.

Central agencies---National Investigation Agency, Customs and the Enforcement Directorate, are conducting separate inquiries into the seizure of gold worth nearly Rs 15 crore from a "diplomatic baggage" at Thiruvananthapuram International airport on July 5.





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