Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday said that Union Home Minister Amit Shah is the embodiment of communalism, a leader who would do anything to nurture animosity between two communities, The Indian Express reported.
His sharp statements came a day after Shah, at an election rally, posed seven questions to the chief minister about the gold smuggling case, according to PTI. Shah had asked whether the accused in the case had worked in Vijayan’s office, and whether the chief minister’s workplace tried to influence the Customs officials probing the scam.
Shah had also thrown questions about the alleged links between the main accused, Swapna Suresh, Vijayan’s former Principal Secretary M Sivasankar and the chief minister’s office. The Bharatiya Janata Party leader had alleged that a witness in the scandal had also died “under mysterious circumstances”.
The Customs Department on July 5 had seized from the airport around 30 kg of gold worth Rs 15 crore from a diplomatic baggage addressed to the UAE consulate. A number of individuals have been arrested, including Suresh and Sivasankar, whose alleged links to the primary accused led to his suspension.
Vijayan on Monday, while kicking off the election campaign in his constituency Dharmadam, said that his government was ready to investigate the case if it gets the details. “But I want to tell you, I was not lodged in jail for abduction,” he added. “Does Amit Shah remember whose name was mentioned in the chargesheet of a fake encounter case, was arrested and then jailed?”
The chief minister was referring to the Sohrabuddin Sheikh 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 Central Bureau of Investigation court in December, 2014.
“Amit Shah is an embodiment of communalism,” Vijayan added. “He will do anything to nurture communalism. Even though he became a Union minister, he has not changed much. The leader of RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] which propagates communalism is here to teach us secularism.” The RSS is the ideological mentor of the BJP.
Coming back 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?” he asked. “The name is Amit Shah.”
Sharpening his attack, the chief minister also referred to the death of Central Bureau of Investigation judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya, who was hearing the cases against Shah in the encounter case. Suspicions were raised about whether Loya’s death was natural after The Caravan published a report in November 2017, in which members of the judge’s family raised a number of questions around the circumstances of his death and said that he had been under pressure at the time.
“The family of the judge is still awaiting justice,” Vijayan said. “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.”