Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday asserted that no wrongdoers in the gold smuggling case, being investigated by the NIA,will be protected, as the probe agency was granted custody of two key accused in the case. Speaking to reporters here, he said those levelling charges that the accused in the case had links with his office are worried as they suspect that the probe would reach the "big sharks".
Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, the two key accused, were sent to NIA custody for eight days by a special court in Kochi on Monday, a day after they were remanded by a NIA court on being broughtto Kochi from Bengaluru, from where they were arrested.
Stepping up their attack against the ruling LDF, the opposition UDF said it would move a no confidence motion against the government when the assembly convenes and also move a resolution, demanding the resignation of speaker P Sreeramakrishnan, alleging that he has links with the accused. The opposition hasbeen targetingVijayan, demanding his resignation alleging that the accused persons in the case had links with his office.
Vijayan's secretary and IT secretary M Sivasankar had been removed from the two posts after reports about his alleged links with Swapna Suresh emerged. Asked about the UDF''s proposed no confidence motion, Vijayan said the NIA, which is a premier investigation agency, has initiated the probe.
"A fruitful investigation is going on. Let all the big sharks involved in the matter be identified and the state government will not protect any wrongdoers involved in the matter," Vijayan said. He said the agency can probe anyone, including the Chief Minister's Office. "If the probe comes to my office, let them probe. I am not worried. But some people are really worried about the investigation and are trying to deflect the focus of the probe," Vijayan said.
Asked whether there would be any probe into the charge that Swapna Suresh was illegally appointed as a contract staff for one of the projects under the IT department by former IT Secretary M Sivashankar, Vijayan said the Chief Secretary would look into the matter.
"The state government has ordered a probe by the Chief Secretary. We need to look into the allegation of fake certificates and other matters. If any irregularities are found, we will take strict action," Vijayan said.
The Chief Minister also dismissed the UDF allegation against the Speaker that he has links with the accused. "The Speaker was unnecessarily dragged into the controversy. He was invited for an inauguration by Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair some months ago. Attending such functions is common for a public personality. At that time, no one knew about such allegations against these accused persons," Vijayan said.
The Chief Minister also said Sivasankar should not have had any alleged links with the controversialwoman. "As soon as we saw the media reports relatedto that, he was removed", he said.
Meanwhile, Kerala Police on Monday booked Swapna Suresh and two firms, including PricewaterHouseCoopers and Vision Technologies, on charges of cheating and forgery over alleged fake degree certificate submitted by her to secure a job in the state IT department, from which she has been removed now. The consulting agency PricewaterHouseCoopers and Vision Technologies, responsible for verifying the documents submitted by her, are the second and third accused in the case, police said.