Gold smuggling case: CPI (M) in damage control mode after arrest of former leaders | Latest India News


In the early hours of June 21, five men were killed near Kozhikode International Airport after their vehicle crashed into a truck loaded with cement. Police initially dismissed it as another traffic accident, but that notion changed after guns and bottles of alcohol were recovered from the crowded vehicle.

Soon another sensational gold smuggling case unfolded, embarrassing the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) in the state. The arrest of a former CPI (M) official from Kannur (northern Kerala) Arjun Ayanki, who was the face of the communist movement on social media with 40,000 followers, in connection with 2.23 kg of gold from smuggling from Dubai, and summoning two other leaders left the party with a red face.

The smuggling incident surfaced after five men from Palakkad, allegedly hired by a smuggling gang, died in the crash after an aborted attempt to loot contraband gold on June 21. They clashed outside the airport and continued without knowing that the transporter who was hiding the yellow metal in a coffee machine had been arrested by customs officials, police said.

Later, Ayanki, who reportedly came to the airport to collect contraband gold, was summoned by customs and arrested on Tuesday. The car he drove to the airport to collect contraband gold is believed to be owned by another leader of the CPI (M) youth wing, C Sajesh, who was kicked out of the party after the revelation of the incident.

A senior customs official said Ayanki was the backbone of one of the gangs and was involved in at least 20 cases of smuggling at Kannur and Kozhikode airports.

After the abortive looting offer, audiotapes and shocking phone conversations surfaced on social and electronic media, which allegedly showed that some of the young leaders were allegedly involved in smuggling and anti-smuggling activities (looting contraband) in the Kannur Party Citadel and they thrived using the party platform. HT was unable to independently verify the authenticity of the leaked audio cassettes and telephone conversations.

One of the audio cassettes even claimed that “a third of the profits from the looted gold goes to the party as protection money.” Later, the CPI (M) admitted that some of its cadres had deviated from the Communist path and that a vigorous campaign was underway to eliminate them. Now party leaders are in a hurry to disavow these elements, a party official told HT on condition of anonymity.

“It is a fact that some criminal gangs have thrived using the influence and clamor of the party. We have launched a campaign to eliminate these elements and purge the party. We will not leave anyone who has ties to such anti-social elements, ”said Kannur District Party Secretary MV Jayarajan. Most of these expelled activists were close to P Jayarajan, another CPI (M) leader in the district. Jayarajan later disowned them as well, but many leaders quietly criticized him for cultivating them, a senior official quoted above said.

District party leaders admitted that some of these workers got rich overnight and began to lead ostentatious lives, the official said, adding that the party normally keeps a close eye on these workers, but that it failed to control their activities, as these incidents show. . Due to their connections, some of them enjoyed Robinhood status in their area and no one dared to touch them, police officials said.

A Vijayaraghavan, acting secretary of state for the ruling party, said that although the party took strong action against the lost workers, some of the media began to portray the party in a bad light. “No other party is taking action as swiftly as CPI (M). We never need the certificates from the anti-left media, ”he said, adding that some of them were telling juicy and spicy stories to portray the party in a bad light.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also said that such matters will be dealt with severely. Despite the action and the strict warning, the party is struggling to cope with the opposition’s salvos.

For CPI (M), Kannur is what Nagpur is for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Kannur has had a history of bloody clashes between the two for political supremacy. The district is home to many prominent Communist leaders, including former leader of the opposition in Parliament AK Gopalan, former CM EK Naynar and CM Vijayan.

“Many self-taught warriors frequently appear on social media. The party has nothing to do with them. They hurt ideology more than they help it. We will eliminate these forces, ”said party deputy AN Shamseer.

Field reports suggest that some of the activists were experts in looting contraband goods and that some of the convicted workers coordinated such activities from prison. Since both (smuggling and smuggling) are illegal, no one used to press charges for such incidents, and party leaders admit that many gangs have flourished by abusing their relations with the party.

“The party always protects and feeds criminal gangs. Besides smuggling, they also participate in many other anti-social activities. The party realized the danger when these gangs overtook the party, ”said Revolutionary Marxist Party MP KK Rema, widow of renegade Communist leader TP Chandrasekharan, who was assassinated by a gang backed by the CPI (M). There are allegations that some of those convicted in the TP murder case, like Kodi Suni, were in control of such gangs. His name was repeated quite often in one of the audio tapes mentioned above.

But opposition parties say the CPI (M) was aware of their activities and only disowned them when they became a big handicap. “This is nothing new. This is just the tip of the iceberg. For many of these rebel cadres, their heroes are CM Vijayan and senior leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. It is almost like a cult in northern Kerala and the party finds a lot of heroism in the violence. It is natural for workers to turn to such activities, ”said state congressman K Sudhakaran.

A senior district police official said: “In Kannur, political parties usually recruit and prepare criminal gangs for violent political activities. Since peace reigns in the neighborhood, these gangs turn into accountability to the parties. Now, many are engaged in criminal contract activity and smuggling. ”

After the revelation of the workers’ alleged affiliation with the gold smuggling gangs, the ruling CPI (M) tightened its grip on the executives. The party’s youth wing, the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), will begin a week-long march in the district from July 5 to defend communist values ​​and check for a possible deviation from ideology, the official said. DYFI Kannur district president, Manu Thomas.

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