Kerala opposition march to secretariat demanding CM’s resignation

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Five UDF leaders led by opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala marched to secretariat from Martyr's Column demanding resignation of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for allegedly telling lies regarding his connection with gold smugfgling case accused. 

Setting aside its decision to defer agitations in the light of the surge in Covid-19 cases, Kerala’ Congress-led opposition United Democratic Front  (UDF) launched a five-men march to the secretariat on Thursday, October 8, demanding resignation of Chief Minister Pinarayi  Vijayan.

The opposition resumed the agitation in the wake revelation by the Enforcement Directorate that gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh that she was hired by Space Park, a state government agency, with the approval of the chief minister.

A primary chargesheet filed by the ED on Wednesday said that Swapna had met Vijayan several times in the presence of his former principal secretary Sivsankar. This is in contrast to the chief minister’s claim that he did not knew Swapna and had nothing to do with her appointment.

The ED finding based on the statement given by Swapna is viewed by the opposition as an indication of the use of the CM’s office by Swapna not only for gold smuggling but also in pocketing huge commission from the Life Mission project at Wadakkancherry in Thrissur district with the financial assistance of United Arab Emirates. Swapna had admitted that she had received Rs.1 crore as commission in the project.

The state vigilance and the central bureau of investigation is currently inquiring into corruption and other irregularities in the implementation of the Life Mission project, involving 124 flats and a health centre. The state government has challenged the CBI probe in the high court.

The chargesheet, submitted at the special court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases in Ernakulam also talks of how Sivasankar facilitated the entry of a private builder (Unitac) into the Life Mission project and the substantial commission paid to various people, including top UAE consulate officials.

The Unitac was brought into the scene after removing Thiruvananthapuram-based Habitat. Habitat chairman Shankar said that he was asked to leave the project by Life Mission CEO UV Jose saying that there were uncertainties about the sponsorship for the project.

The secretariat march by the UDF leaders was led by opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, complying with the Covid protocols. The leaders carried placards saying the chief minister who said lies must resign. He said that the project was a den of corruption.  

Image Credit: Onmanorama

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