THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a scathing attack against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala urged him to step down from office now and not wait until he is quizzed by the team investigating the gold smuggling case.
A day after Pinarayi’s former principal secretary M Sivasankar was quizzed by the NIA and summoned to Kochi for further interrogation on Monday, Chennithala alleged that the Chief Minister is challenging the people of the state by pretending to be unaware of anything that is happening around him. Talking to reporters here at Cantonment House, Chennithala warned that the NIA will be moving to the Chief Minister’s Office next and this is his last chance to step down from office gracefully.
Chennithala said it was a disgrace to Kerala that the NIA had reached the CMO. He said this was the first incident of its kind in the history of the country. Chennithala did not spare the police department either, alleging that they have so far not taken any steps in the gold smuggling case with the consent of the Chief Minister. The home department has been protecting the suspects in the gold smuggling case right from day one as the CMO was being controlled by Sivasankar, alleged Chennithala.
“This is the last chance for the CM to resign gracefully. He cannot be adamant about not resigning from office. The allies in the LDF are yet to express their opinion about the gold smuggling case though they are answerable to the public,” said Chennithala.
The Opposition leader also reiterated his call for a CBI probe on the irregularities in the consultancy appointments in the CMO, IT department, Chief Secretary’s Office and all other contract appointments. Chennithala also said the Opposition will hold two protests demanding the resignation of the Chief Minister as well as a CBI probe in the gold smuggling case.
“All Congress MLAs and MPs will stage a protest at their house or offices on August 1 maintaining the COVID-19 safety protocol. The protest, ‘Speak Up Kerala’ is an online protest through social media. On August 10, Congress party workers will hold protests in all the 21,000 plus panchayat wards and will take up the second stage of the ‘Speak Up Kerala’ protest,” added Chennithala.
At the press meet, Chennithala also highlighted The New Indian Express editorial ‘Kerala’s Covid defence is falling apart’ and said its observation is right. He read out, “Currently, infection is spreading at a rapid rate, and recoveries have fallen below 50 percent. Worrying, more than 75 percent of the new cases these days are due to local transmission. Clearly, Kerala’s Covid defence is falling apart, and the government needs much more than mere statements or PR exercises to remedy the situation”.