Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan said that case registered by Kerala Police against the Enforcement Directorate (ED) official is a simple ploy by the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) to divert attention with eye on state Assembly polls that is scheduled on April 6.In a candid interview to IANS, Muraleedharan, former Kerala BJP chief, said that an investigation is going on and now registering a case against the ED official by the state police is aimed at the Assembly election."It is nothing but an eyewash," he said.The Minister pointed out that the central investigative agency ED has sent notices on some issues to some of the accused in Kerala gold smuggling case. "If there have been any issue or unlawfulness in those notices they (accused) could have challenged it in court but they did not do it," the Minister said."Investigation is going on. At no point of time the investigation was challenged in the court. Now they registering a case against the ED officials, it is a simple ploy to divert attention and a sort of cover up to unlawful activities of the ruling party," Muraleedharan said.The FIR by the Kerala police against the central investigative agency said that the ED officials had forced one of the key accused Swapna Suresh, to give a statement against Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan as part of a criminal conspiracy to create false evidence.Suresh was arrested by the central investigative agency last year for her role in the Kerala gold smuggling case, that is also being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Customs Department.
The gold smuggling case first surfaced when Sarith P.S., a former employee of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, was arrested by the Customs Department on July 5 last year when he was allegedly facilitating the smuggling of 30 kg gold in a diplomatic baggage from Dubai to Thiruvananthapuram.The case turned murkier when the involvement of Suresh, a former employee of the UAE Consulate who was later employed with the Kerala IT Department, came to light.Her links allegedly stretched to M. Sivasankar, Kerala's senior IAS official and Secretary to the Chief Minister.Suresh later revealed that Sivasankar was her mentor.Talking about confusion over announcement of 'metro man' E. Sreedharan as BJP chief ministerial candidate, Muraleedharan said that the party has not named anyone as the Chief Minister candidate."The state president had said that the people of Kerala would like to have a person like Sreedharan as the Chief Minister and it does not mean an announcement of his name as Chief Minister has been made," he said.He further stated that media reports said that he (Sreedharan) has been announced as the Chief Minister candidate and without verifying from the party I reaffirmed it."Later on, I came to know that the party had not announced, so naturally I corrected my stand," he said.When asked why Sreedharan got ticket against the party's practice of not giving ticket to people above 75 years, the Minister said, "Union Home Minister Amit Shah has told that he got inspired by vigorousness and active nature of Sreedharan at this age of 88 years. He is an agile person both in body and mind. This should not be considered as disqualification."Muraleedharan said that the BJP is confident of coming to power along with its ally AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, and it will form government for the second time in Assam and also form government for the first time in West Bengal and Puducherry."The BJP will also improve its position in Kerala," he added.Voting for 140 member House will take place on April 6. Counting of votes will take place on May 2. The BJP currently has one seat in the state Assembly.