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'Destabilising Government': Kerala Chief Minister Slams Central Agencies

Pinarayi Vijayan said statements of accused are leaked to media “selectively with an agenda”.

Thiruvananthapuram:

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today criticised the centre’s probe agencies, alleging they were “exceeding their jurisdiction and destabilising a constitutionally elected state government”. The Chief Minister hit out, saying a situation has risen where the central government-controlled investigative agencies are interfering with the policies and programmes of the state government.

“This is in no way acceptable to those who believe in democratic values and respect the Constitution. To see state governments as absolute culprits, is a remnant of a colonial era. Political opponents may have the ulterior motive of undermining the morale of the bureaucrats and stalling welfare schemes, but not investigating agencies,” Mr Vijayan told reporters.

In Kerala, multiple central investigating agencies are probing cases including gold smuggling case involving at least 30 kg of gold smuggled from the UAE to Thiruvananthapuram airport via diplomatic channels; the Life Mission case, the state government’s flagship programme of constructing houses for families without land or housing, among others.

The Chief Minister mentioned about how an official in connection to the Life Mission project was summoned for a second time by a probe agency, with all documents to be produced within 24 hours, on a non-working day.

The Chief Minister raised concerns about how instead of an “impartial probe”, statements of accused were being leaked to the media “selectively, with an agenda”.

Among the accused in a case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the gold smuggling case is M Sivasankar, former principal secretary to the Kerala Chief Minister and currently a suspended Indian Administrative Service officer. He has been arrested for alleged money laundering.

As the gold smuggling case emerged, Mr Vijayan said the state government was first to ask the central government for a comprehensive and coordinated inquiry into the crime of destabilising the country’s financial security.

“We had a legitimate expectation that the investigation would go through proper legal channels… but the recent developments have raised concerns,” the Chief Minister said.

Mr Vijayan said the state government will move against such “undemocratic and unconstitutional interference” legally.

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