Gold smuggling case: CPI(M) cracks whip as probe links leaders

Published on Jun 27, 2021 12:48 AM IST

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has tightened its grips on cadres in Kannur after the alleged liaison of some party workers with gold smuggling gangs came to light

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ByHT Correspondent, Thiruvananthapuram

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has tightened its grips on cadres in Kannur after the alleged liaison of some party workers with gold smuggling gangs came to light. The CPI (M) has also launched a campaign to weed out anti-party elements often guilty of violent clashes with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) workers in the district.

The party youth wing, Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), will start a week-long march in the district from July 5 to uphold Communist values and check a possible deviation from ideology, said DYFI district unit in a statement.

The party workers alleged involvement in gold-smuggling came to light when the Customs and Kerala police’s probe into the death of a five-member gang in Kozhikode, who were trying to loot 2.50kg of gold smuggled from Dubai to Kozhikode airport last Monday, led them to a CPI (M) worker Arjun Ayanki. Later, it was known that the vehicle used in the alleged attempt was owned by another leader of the DYFI, police said.

In Kannur, political parties usually hire criminal gangs for violent political activities and groom them. Since peace is prevailing in the district these gangs are turning a liability to parties. Now many are into contract criminal activities and smuggling, a senior police officer of the district said.

After the incident, a series of audio tapes and phone conversations surfaced on social and electronic media, which clearly showed that some of the youth leaders were allegedly involved in smuggling and counter-smuggling activities. Counter-smuggling is looting of the smuggled gold. Since both activities are illegal, nobody filed cases in such incidents. Absconding after the accident, Ayanki was summoned by the Customs on Monday.

“Many self-made warriors are appearing frequently on social media. The party has nothing to do with them. They are doing more damage to the ideology than helping it. We will weed out such forces,” said DFYI state secretary A A Rahim on Saturday.

CPI (M) Kannur district secretary M V Jayarajan and excise minister M V Govindan also said such elements will have no place in the party. “We have not assigned anyone to campaign on social media. Some self-made warriors are doing it for publicity and acceptance. We will expose them,” said Jayarajan.

Opposition BJP has sought a high-level inquiry into politician-smuggling nexus. “The CPI(M) is now disowning smugglers after they turn a liability to the party. It is an open secret many smuggling gangs thrived under the present regime,” said party state president K Surendran.

The gold smuggling issue came to light after last Monday’s accident. Police said five deceased were part of a looting team from Palakkad and they reportedly came to Kozhikode airport after they got information about the smuggled gold. But the customs authorities seized gold, concealed in a coffee-making machine, and arrested the carrier Mohammad Shafeek.

Another gang from Kannur, who were planning to receive the smuggled gold, was chased by the Palakkad team under the impression that they were carrying the yellow metal. Both these gangs were unaware that the carrier was arrested and a chase ensued and which resulted in the accident. Police said clashes between gangs are regular and they never file complaints.

Among four international airports in the state, Kozhikode is the hub for gold smuggling – on average 10 seizures take place in a month. Among south Indian states, Kerala topped in gold smuggling cases with 600 kgs of precious metal seized last year.

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