Protests demanding the resignation of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan continued on Wednesday with several Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Yuva Morcha workers gathering out the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram. As some protestors tried to break the barricades placed by the police, officials used water cannons and tear gas to dispel the protestors.
The protestors also shouted slogans against Vijayan, demanding that he step down. A video from the protest site shows several saffron party workers wearing black clothes. Similar protests were also carried out by Congress in Kannur.
Triggering a political storm in Kerala, gold scam key accused Swapna Suresh, last week, claimed that she disclosed before the court - in her statement under Section 164 of CrPC - the other people allegedly involved in the smuggling cases and their "degrees of involvement."
She informed the media that she has given statements against the CM his family, former state minister KT Jaleel and other top bureaucrats.
Suresh, a former employee of the UAE Consulate in Kannur, was taken into NIA custody along with another accused Sandeep Nair from Bengaluru on 11 July 2020. The NIA, ED and Customs conducted separate investigations into the racket that was exposed with the seizure of gold worth Rs 15 crore from diplomatic baggage of the United Arab Emirates Consulate at Thiruvananthapuram airport on 5 July 2020.
Addressing a press conference on Monday, BJP dubbed Kerala Chief Minister as the 'kingpin' of the gold smuggling case. Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar alleged that Vijayan was doing everything to avoid implications in the case, and called revelations by Suresh 'explosive and unprecedented'.
"The recent revelations in the court are explosive and unprecedented. It has pointed the needle at the CM who has emerged as the kingpin of the case. Instead of trying to investigate the crime, they offered money and threats to Swapna Suresh. Doesn't that confirm the involvement of the CM? It is an unprecedented crisis in Kerala," said Chandrasekhar.
Meanwhile, Kerala CM Pinariyi Vijayan has called the allegations levelled by Swapna 'baseless'.