Saturday, August 29, 2020

The Kerala gold scandal has blown up in the face of the BJP.

Bangalore: A statement attributed to a key accused claims that a pro-BJP television journalist had “requested the help” of the UAE consulate in the state capital to support the party in 2018.
The statement also says the journalist offered the suspect advice to defuse the scandal through the consulate. The purported advice has a striking similarity with a claim made by a Union minister three days later.
The scandal has taken the dramatic turn at a time the Opposition Congress and BJP have been seeking the scalp of chief minister and CPM leader Pinarayi Vijayan.

On Friday, Anil Nambiar, the coordinating editor of the pro-BJP Janam TV, stepped down, pending an investigation, after the claims made in a handwritten statement attributed to Swapna Suresh became public.

“In 2018, he (Nambiar) invited me for a dinner at Taj Hotel and had a couple of drinks together. He enquired about UAE investments in India and requested the help of consulate to support BJP,” said the statement that Swapna purportedly made before a central agency.

Swapna is under arrest on the charge of helping smugglers bring in gold using “diplomatic baggage” in the name of the UAE consulate. An influential IAS officer in the Kerala chief minister’s office has already been suspended because of his links with Swapna.
The BJP has not yet responded to the specific claim that Nambiar wanted the consulate to help the party. The nature of the help he allegedly sought is not clear.

The UAE enjoys a special relationship with the Narendra Modi government and honoured the Indian Prime Minister with its highest civilian award last year. There had been reports in the western media that Indian security forces had helped capture and return the Dubai ruler’s runaway daughter off Goa in 2018.
29/08/20 K.M. Rakesh/Telegraph
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