Pinarayi directs scathing attack on Amit Shah, calls him an 'embodiment of communalism'

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan speaking next to a souvenir gifted to him as he arrived at Kannur's Dharmadom to kickstart LDF's Assembly election campaign on Monday evening. Photo: Manorama

Dharmadom: Hitting back at Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday called him an "embodiment of communalism" and said the BJP leader was jailed for the crimes of alleged "kidnapping and fake encounters", a reference to the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case.

In a tit-for-tat a day after Shah posed him questions over the gold and dollar smuggling cases, the CM asked the union minister whose name had been mentioned in the charge sheet of "a fake encounter and kidnapping" cases.

"Amit Shah is an embodiment of communalism. He will do anything to nurture communalism. Even though he became a union minister, he has not changed much. The leader of RSS which propagates communalism is here to teach us secularism," Vijayan said.

The sharp retaliation came a day after Shah at a poll rally in Kerala slammed Vijayan for attacking the central agencies probing gold and dollar smuggling cases and sought to know whether or not the main accused had worked in his office and if the CM's office had tried to influence the Customs officials in the cases.

"The chief minister is alleging that the central agencies are acting as political tools (of BJP-led NDA government). I would like to ask a few questions. I want to ask the CM if the dollar/gold scam main accused had worked in his office or not?" Shah had asked.

Vijayan on Monday said: "He asked me certain questions yesterday. I would like to remind him that I was not the one who was jailed for kidnapping. Does Amit Shah remember whose name was mentioned in the charge sheet of a fake encounter case, was arrested and then jailed?

"The same person was accused of murder, kidnapping, extortion and illegal surveillance. And on a mysterious death, is he speaking from his own experience?" Vijayan asked at a election rally at Dharmadom in Kannur district.

He was referring to Sohrabuddin Sheikh "fake encounter case" in which Shah was arrested in July 2010. Shah, who had resigned as Gujarat home minister, was discharged from the case by a CBI court in December, 2014.

Shah had in his speech on Sunday also mentioned about a "mysterious death related to the gold smuggling case", to which Vijayan said the matter will be probed if the Home Minister provided more details about such an incident.

Referring to the deaths of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kauser Bi and her brother Tulsiram Prajapathi, Vijayan alleged "they were all fake encounter cases. Who was charged for all these crimes? The name is Amit Shah," he said, claiming the CBI court Judge B H Loya, who was hearing those cases, died mysteriously.

"Post-mortem report was reportedly tampered with. The family of the judge is still awaiting justice. Will any BJP leader talk about this? We all know about the snooping case of 2013. Later the complainant woman herself dropped the case. Who was in jail for that? If you do not act as per the position you are holding, we will be forced to list out your misdoings," Vijayan added.

Loya had died of cardiac arrest in Nagpur on December 1, 2014 when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague's daughter. The Supreme Court had dismissed pleas seeking an independent probe into the death of judge Loya, ruling that he died of natural causes.

Vijayan, who launched the LDF campaign from his constituency for the April 6 assembly polls, also lashed out at Shah, saying he 'insulted' the state by raising various corruption allegations against the Left government.

Vijayan also accused the opposition Congress-led UDF and the BJP of opposing the Left front government in "one voice" with their leaders "concocting stories" to defame his government.

Attacking the BJP, Vijayan said the agenda of RSS is to communally divide the society and the leader of such a party "came here to teach us secularism" and said it was Shah who had been behind bars in connection with a fake encounter case.

In a sharp attack, Vijayan referred to the 2002 Gujarat riots as 'genocide' and also targeted BCCI Secretary and Amit Shah's son Jay Shah, alleging within one year his income had skyrocketed 16,000 times and he enjoyed "achhe din". On Shah's charge that Kerala was the most corrupt, the CPI(M) leader said various national and international agencies had rated and recognised it as "the least corrupt" state in the country, but the home minister had defamed it.

The Left veteran also hit out at the Congress for remaining silent on Shah's attack on Kerala.

He also asked Shah how the gold smuggling incidents through Thiruvananthapuram Airport, which is under the central government, had increased after the BJP came to power.

The airport had now become a "hub" of gold smuggling, he said, alleging Sandeep Nair, one of the main accused in the case, was a full-time Sangh Parivar activist.

He said even after eight months of investigation, the central probe agencies were yet to identify for whom the gold was smuggled and yet to question the persons who had sent the precious metal through diplomatic baggage.

The customs had seized from the airport around 30 kg of gold worth Rs 15 crore on July 5 last year from a diplomatic baggage addressed to the UAE consulate.

Besides the Customs, the gold smuggling case is being probed by the Enforcement Directorate and the National Investigation Agency.

During the course of the probe, the agencies unearthed a racket involving smuggling of dollar through the UAE consulate.

The agencies have arrested several persons, including former UAE Consulate employee Swapna Suresh, Sandeep Nair and Vijayan's former principal secretary M Sivasankar, whose alleged links to the main accused led to his removal from the top post.  

(With PTI inputs)

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