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‘No lesson needed from Amit Shah’: Kerala CM’s retort to home minister

Amit Shah had earlier hit out at Vijayan, saying the Kerala CM had no moral right to continue in power after ED pointed to a statement alleging his involvement in the gold smuggling case.
By Ramesh Babu, Thiruvananthapuram
PUBLISHED ON MAR 09, 2021 08:31 AM IST
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.(ANI)

A day after Union home minister Amit Shah levelled serious allegations against Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the gold smuggling case, the latter on Monday said he did not need a lesson from Shah and people were well aware of his alleged role in fake encounters and Gujarat riots.

Addressing a public meeting in Dharmadam, his assembly constituency in north Kerala’s Kannur district, the CM said the union minister had conveniently forgotten his stature and was busy creating a smokescreen in the state ahead of assembly elections.

“I never spent months together in jail. People who make frivolous charges should see their past also,” he said referring to Shah spending time in jail in Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kausar Bi encounter cases of 2005 in Gujarat. Shah was later acquitted in the case.

Vijayan said the home minister insulted the state by making unsavoury and malicious charges and Kerala would not fall for his ‘divisive’ policy.

“People are yet to forget about his role in Gujarat riots. A staunch advocate of communal division and hatred, we don’t need any certificate from Shah. If he thinks that Kerala is like a north Indian state, he’s terribly mistaken,” the CM said.

In reply to Shah’s questions, asked earlier, about the smuggling scandal, the CM responded with his own questions.

“The case surfaced in July. What did the customs do in eight months? How some of the airports have turned into smuggling hub and why central agencies failed to nab real people who are kingpins of the thriving racket?,” he asked. He also criticised minister of state for external affairs V Muraleedharan.

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Earlier on Sunday, Shah had said that Vijayan had no moral right to continue in power in the light of recent developments in the smuggling case. The customs had filed an affidavit in the Kerala high court on Friday, citing the confessional statement of main accused Swapna Suresh that dollar (linked to gold smuggling case) was smuggled at the instance of the CM, three ministers and the assembly speaker.

Meanwhile, a statement of a woman police officer, who escorted Swapna Suresh during interrogation, came out claiming she had seen the Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials force her to take the CM’s name in the case during the questioning. But the central agency rejected the allegation, calling it her imagination and alleging that she was tutored.

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