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Kerala gold smuggling probe: Son of industry minister EP Jayarajans to be questioned soon



As a request for Kerala’s resignation Minister of Higher Education KT Jaleel, who was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate two days ago, is getting stronger the son of another CPI (M) minister suspected of being involved in one of the incidents related to the sensational smuggling case of gold.

A senior official familiar with the multi-agency investigation said national agencies would soon question Industry Minister EP Jayarajan’s son in connection with the alleged commission in the Mission Life project mediated by Swapna Suresh, the main defendant in the case. of smuggling. Considered the number two in the ministry, Jayarajan is a member of the party’s central committee.

The minister’s son also held a big party for Suresh at a star hotel in 2018, to resolve his control issue in the UAE, the official said. He later appeared as an intermediary in the Life Mission project, funded by a Gulf-based Red Crescent organization to build free housing for the poor, and reportedly accepted the commission; the official said adding that he would be called in to get more details about his association with Suresh.

READ ALSO | As Kerala polls approach, top CPM leaders in the spotlight for the wrong reasons

But Prime Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has dropped the allegations, saying it was an attempt to sabotage a people-friendly project. “There is a joint movement to bring down one of the government’s ‘Mission of Life’ dream projects which is providing shelter for thousands of homeless people. “Opposition parties and part of the media are busy cooking up half-baked stories to discredit the government,” he said.

But the opposition Congress and the BJP have filed another serious indictment against the minister’s quarantined family members after he tested positive for Covid-19 last week. “In violation of quarantine norms, the minister’s wife went to Kerala Bank last week and opened the closet. “We have information that she moved some valuables from there after her son ‘s name calmed down in connection with Swapna Suresh,” said BJP state president K Surendran. Later, the bank manager also confirmed that she visited the bank on 10 September and all employees were advised to go to quarantine.

Minister KP Indira’s wife later admitted that she had visited the bank for her personal needs and she was not in quarantine at the time. Indira had retired as a senior manager from the same bank two years ago. What has raised suspicions is the urgency with which she opened the closet closet by breaking the Covid-19 protocol. There are reports that ED has requested details from the bank regarding its visit and transactions.

As the multi-agency investigation came together quickly, more shocking details have emerged – the Customs department has revealed that between 2017 and 2018 about 17,000 kg of dried dates were imported from the consular office. “The office had mentioned that dates were imported for personal use. But in small offices staff members are under 20 years old and they never need such a large amount that it is appropriate to open at least some dried date shops, “said a senior Customs official. He said Customs will review the details of all imports from October 2016 when the consulate opened in the state.

Customs felt trouble when large quantities of dried fruit, canned food and toiletries came regularly to the consulate. When such a shipment came in July, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested the UAE permission to open the shipment (according to the Vienna Convention permit is required) and seized 30 kg of gold hidden in the bath equipment. Last week, ED’s dismissed Bineesh Kodiyeri, the son of CPI (M) Secretary of State Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, in connection with drug trafficking to Bengaluru. In a recent statement to the Kochi Economic Court, ED had said that the issue of gold smuggling and drug seizures were closely linked.

The case of gold smuggling came to light in Parliament on the opening day. In response to a question, State Finance Minister Anurag Thakur said the investigation for many agencies was going in the right direction and one of the accused in the case was influential. Meanwhile, for the third day in a row, the state witnessed protests demanding the resignation of Jaleel. Many opposition party employees were injured in the stick charge.

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