Gold smuggling case: NIA probe may shake up Kerala politics

Gold smuggling case: NIA probe may shake up Kerala politics

Thiruvananthapuram: With the assembly and local body elections around the corner, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe into the 30kg gold smuggling case is likely to have a larger political impact in Kerala.

The Home Ministry had given the go ahead to the NIA to probe the smuggling case in which gold worth Rs 13.5 crore was seized from a diplomatic baggage in Thiruvananthapuram. An accused in the case was also linked to IAS official M Sivasankar, who was then removed as the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister.

The opposition UDF will keep a close watch on how the central-state ties will be affected by the probe. And also, every step taken by both the LDF government and the CPM. Though it does not oppose the NIA, Congress is of the opinion that a CBI probe would have been better to corner the CM.

By welcoming the NIA probe, both the Chief Minister and the CPM are trying to prove that they do not have anything to hide.

However, some point out that the hasty manner in which the NIA was entrusted the probe reflects the political interest that the BJP's central leadership has in the case.

The Home Ministry is led by Amit Shah. Even the courtesy extended by Narendra Modi to the CPM-led administration cannot be expected from Amit Shah. Therefore, if political motives mar the probe, the CPM plans to deal with it at that point.

Kerala falls under the Hyderabad unit of the NIA, which is led by Director General Yogesh Chander Modi. This central agency has probed 338 cases since its formation in 2008. The accused were awarded punishments in 90 per cent of the cases in which verdicts were declared.

The NIA closely works with other central agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Financial Intelligence Unit, and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing.

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