On Monday, Members of the Kerala Students Union (KSU) held a protest march in Thiruvananthapuram, demanding State Minister KT Jaleel's resignation. Jaleel on Friday was interrogated by the ED in connection with the gold smuggling case, which is currently also being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Customs department, for over two hours.
The Education Minister has been facing constant criticism from the opposition for concealing that he was questioned by Enforcement Directorate over the gold smuggling case. Alleging Jaleel's involvement in the gold smuggling cases, students gathered in huge numbers. Police used water cannons to disperse the protestors.
Kerala: Members of Kerala Students Union (KSU) held a protest march in Thiruvananthapuram today demanding State Minister KT Jaleel's resignation over his alleged involvement in the gold smuggling case.— ANI (@ANI) September 14, 2020
Police used water cannons to disperse the protestors. pic.twitter.com/CK9zHlv64W
Meanwhile, protests are also being held across the state by the BJP, the Youth Congress, and the Yuva Sena against state Cabinet Minister KT Jaleel after his questioning in the matter. Protests were also held last week in Kochi by the BJP and Yuva Morcha against Jaleel. During the protest, the demonstrators conducted a march and burned the state minister's effigy. The police were also seen detaining several protestors.
Meanwhile, Kerala Higher Education Minister KT Jaleel said that he purposefully did not reveal facts to those spreading rumours against him. Stating that both BJP and Congress are clamouring for his resignation, Jaleel took to his Facebook and slammed people for spreading rumours on daily basis.
"Every Dharma war was won by hiding what needs to be hidden and saying what needs to be told. I am not interested to reveal facts to those who are peddling lies and rumours on daily basis against me."
On July 5, Customs officials seized 30 kg of gold worth Rs.15 crore at the Thiruvananthapuram Airport from a diplomatic cargo addressed to a person in the UAE Consulate. Sarith Kumar, who worked at the UAE Consulate was arrested in this regard. Reportedly, he told the Customs about the role of Swapna Suresh. The case took a political turn after photos with Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan surfaced. Following the backlash over her appointment, she was sacked by the state government.
Apart from the Customs and the ED, the NIA has also registered an FIR in the gold smuggling case. Various sections of the UAPA were slapped against Sarith Kumar, Swapna Suresh, Fazil Fareed, Sandeep Nair, and others. The NIA has alleged that the smuggled gold was not used for jewellery purposes but for funding terror activities