CPI(M) says Muraleedharan lied about diplomatic baggage

Party State secretariat demands his resignation


The State secretariat of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Monday accused Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan of trying to mislead the investigation in the UAE consulate gold smuggling case to shield the culprits.

The CPI(M) said Mr. Muraleedharan had dubiously insisted that the air freight in which Customs officials found 30 kg of contraband gold was not diplomatic cargo. His statement was in variance with the finding of the Customs that the suspect consignment was imported from Dubai as diplomatic freight.

Mr. Muraleedharan’s “lie” was exposed in Parliament on Monday when the Union Finance Ministry revealed that contraband gold had arrived in the country via “diplomatic baggage”. The CPI(M) said that Mr. Muraleedharan had lost the right to continue in office. He should step down or be shown the door.

The CPI(M) said a key accused in the case had told investigators that Anil Nambiar, the coordinating editor of a pro-Bharatiya Janata Party channel, had counselled her to tell Customs examiners that the suspect consignment was not diplomatic freight. Mr. Muraleedharan had struck a similar line in public.

The CPI(M) pointed out that the Customs investigation into the international racket had floundered after enforcers questioned Mr. Nambiar. Nothing had come of the questioning. The officers who quizzed him were shunted to other duties.

The CPI(M) demanded that the Central agencies immediately bring Mr. Muraleedharan under the ambit of their investigation. It seemed to have attempted to turn the tables on the BJP which had launched an agitation to put the government in the dock in the smuggling case.

Bid to sabotage probe: Congress

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said Congress MPs had exposed Mr. Muraleedharan’s “lie” by raising the issue in Parliament. He said Mr. Muraleedharan should state who he was attempting to shield by submitting the false statement. He said efforts were on at the Central-level to sabotage the probe.

Cong., BJP flayed

Meanwhile, LDF convener A. Vijayaraghavan has condemned the “joint effort” by the Congress and the BJP to discredit Ministers and their families by engaging in character assassination. He said the parties had unleashed violence on the streets in a vain attempt to eclipse the achievements of the government by trying to lay down a smokescreen of lies.