Kerala Higher Education Minister KT Jaleel on Friday said that he was going to move forward without paying heed to the accusations surrounding his alleged involvement in the gold smuggling case. He said no matter which investigative agency questions him, nothing will be revealed.
"No matter which investigative agency questions me, nothing will be revealed as there is nothing there. I am moving forward without paying attention to anyone. Not a single strand of my hair has done anything wrong," Jaleel said in a Facebook post (roughly translated from Malayalam), a day after he was interrogated by the National Investigative Agency (NIA).
He further said that he had been called yesterday by the NIA for 'Notice to Witness' under Section 160 of the Code of Criminal Procedure which had been "misconstructed" by the media.
"The NIA had called me for a "Notice to Witness" under Section 160 of CrPC. This was widely circulated to imply "do you have any last thing to say" before being sentenced to be hanged. When the copy of the NIA's notice came out at 8 pm yesterday, the miscreants changed their move. I am moving forward with courage and without paying attention to anyone because I have nothing to hide," he added.
He further said, "A person who has a total of 19.5 cent of the land, a house which has been mortgaged to take a loan of Rs 5 lakhs, only has the balance of his (Jaleel) and his wife's salaries at his expense with no savings in banks, who should he be afraid of? For a public servant who does not own a vehicle or a sovereign of gold, who should I be afraid of other than God? My opponents may be able to kill me. But they can never defeat me.''
Meanwhile, youth wings of BJP and Congress staged protests in various parts of Kerala demanding the minister's resignation. BJP workers in Kochi tried to push Police's barricades, and block the roads in the Perumbavoor area and were subsequently detained. Youth Congress workers also stated protest in Malappuram, where police used water cannon on protesters and later baton-charged on them.
#WATCH Malappuram: Police use water cannon and lathicharge against Youth Congress workers who were holding a protest demanding the resignation of #Kerala's Higher Education Minister KT Jaleel over his alleged involvement in gold smuggling case. pic.twitter.com/PKJ7Z4CRYZ— ANI (@ANI) September 18, 2020
The gold smuggling case, which is being probed by the NIA, ED and the Customs department, pertains to the smuggling of gold in the state through diplomatic channels.
The matter had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crores smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage was busted by the Customs in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5.
(With ANI inputs)