September 2020
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CPI-M comes out in support of Kerala minister K T Jaleel, says ED being ''politically used''
Thiruvananthapuram: Amid protests by the opposition Congress and BJP in Kerala demanding resignation of Minister K T Jaleel on Saturday,a day after he was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate, the state CPI(M) came out in his support and flayed the central agency saying there were allegations that it was being "politically used". The party also said with the violent protests across the state, theOpposition Congress-led United Democratic Front was trying to shift the attention from the Muslim League MLA M C Kammruddin''s Rs 150 crore jewellery scam case.

Jaleel had appeared before the Enforcement Directorate on Friday in connection with alleged FCRA violation in accepting consignments of the Holy Quran brought from UAE through diplomatic channels and his statement was recorded. "The UDF is trying to shift the attention from its MLA''s multi-crore scam.Just because ED sought explanation from the minister, the Congress and the BJP are seeking the resignation of the minister. This just proved that Congress is the B-team of the BJP.The same Congress had earlier alleged that the BJP was politically using the ED," a statement issued by the CPI(M) state secretariat said. The party also listed out the instances in which Congress leaders were grilled by the ED in recent past.

"Rajasthan transport minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas was questioned by ED for seven hours in August. Seems like the Congress leadership in Kerala is unaware of it. The brother of Rajasthan CM was raided recently," party said,adding that senior Congress leaders P Chidambaram and D K Sivakumar were arrested by the ED. It also said that Robert Vadra was questioned 12 times and senior leader Ahmed Patel for 25 hours. "The Congress party which said ED was a political weapon has now turned into a B-team of the BJP," CPI(M) said. The Left party said the Kerala government had welcomed any probe into the matter unlike some other states which had stopped the investigation agencies.

"However, it''s odd that the three probe agencies, the Customs, NIA and the ED, has not yet investigated the controversial diplomatic baggage sender nor the receiver. The probe agencies have told the court that gold was smuggled through diplomatic passage many times but still avoided the sender and receiver from the investigation purview," CPI(M) said. The CPI(M) state secretariat, which met today, in a statement said it was"unnatural" that the ED chief himself had revealed in Delhi on Friday that it had sought information from Jaleel. "There is an allegation that ED is an agency that is being politically used," it said. "The ED has also a dubious distinction that it is an agency that has been politically used by the Centre," the CPI(M) state secretariat said.

The party also alleged that the changes in the customs department investigation team after it had questioned a coordinatingeditor of a BJP-alignedchannel has raised doubts. "The motive behind the violent protests by the Congress-BJP team is just to deviate the attention from the achievements of the state government and from the Jewellery scam of the IUML MLA," the party said. The Marxist party also described as "politically motivated" the resignation demand by the two opposition parties. The state witnessed widespread protests on Saturday as the activists of Congress led UDF and BJP and their youth wings, hit the road seeking Jaleel''s immediate resignation.

The minister had earlier admitted that the consignment containing the Holy Quran had been received from the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, which a top Customs official had referred to as "prima facie violation of FCRA" (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act). The minister''s name had also figured in the call list of Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the case related to gold smuggling through diplomatic baggage addressed to the UAE" consulate in Thiruvananthapuram. However, Jaleel had said the calls were "strictly professional."

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