Probe against ED officials against federal structure, says Rajnath
Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said that Kerala government’s decision to order a judicial inquiry against the Enforcement Directorate, which is probing the gold smuggling case, was “against the federal structure” of the country.
Singh is in Kerala to campaign for the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the April 6 assembly polls.
“It is an unfortunate development. How can a state government initiate probe against central agencies? It is against federal structure of the country,” the senior BJP leader told mediapersons on Sunday.
The CPI(M)-led LDF government in the state on Friday decided to order a judicial enquiry against the central agencies, including ED, for allegedly “derailing the probe” in the gold smuggling and dollar cases, days after the Kerala Crime Branch registered an FIR against some ED officials.
The state government has alleged that the central agencies are trying to implicate chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the cases.
Seeking to remind the CM that the central agencies began the probe after Vijayan approached the Prime Minister, Singh said, “This is 100 per cent against the federal structure of the country. Instead of turning against the ED it should have co-operated with the ongoing investigation to unravel truth.”
Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, however, hit out at Singh. “He has no idea about either the constitution or federal structure. How can a central agency carry out an investigation in the state without taking the government into confidence?” Yechury said.
While the gold smuggling case relates to the seizure of about 30 kg gold worth ₹14.82 crore from a diplomatic baggage at Thiruvananthapuram International airport in July 2020, the dollar smuggling case pertains to alleged smuggling of USD 1,90,000 (equivalent to Rs1.30 crore) by a former finance head of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram to Muscat in Oman.
Besides ED, the Customs department and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) are investigating the cases.