In a big political move for the party in power, the CPI(M), party state secretary M V Govindan sent 2020 gold smuggling scandal suspect Swapna Suresh a legal notice on Wednesday. He asked for Rs 1 crore in damages and a full apology for making “baseless allegations” against him.
Since the scandal started, Suresh has made serious accusations against several CPI(M) leaders, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. But no one except Govindan was brave enough to dispute what she said.
The notice sent to Suresh’s address in Bengaluru said that the false accusations had hurt Govindan’s reputation.
Last week, Suresh said in a Facebook live video that a middleman had approached her at Govindan’s request and offered her Rs 30 crore to drop her smuggling scandal claims against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his family. She said that Govindan told her through a middleman named Vijay Pillai that if she didn’t back down from her accusations against the Vijayan family, she would face bad things or even be killed.
Also: A woman accused of smuggling gold says a middleman gave her Rs 30 crore to leave India.
Suresh said that Vijayan had sent a bag full of cash to UAE in 2016, but this was never proven. She said that the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram sent huge vessels full of heavy metals to the Chief Minister’s official residence at the request of his then principal secretary M Sivasankar, who was involved in three cases related to the scandal. Suresh had even said that Vijayan’s wife Kamal and their daughter Veena were also involved in the scandal.
But Vijayan has never responded to the accusations or gone to court to get back at Suresh. Even though the Opposition had asked Vijayan to speak out about the issue, he had always kept mysteriously quiet about the accusations.
Other CPI(M) leaders, like former finance minister Thomas Isaac, former temple affairs minister Kadakampally Surendran, and former Assembly speaker P Sreeramakrishnan, kept quiet when Suresh said that they asked her for sexual favours when the LDF was in power from 2016 to 2021.
CPI(M) let these leaders sue Suresh on their own, but none of them was brave enough to do so. Suresh, on her side, had also dared these CPI(M) leaders to sue her and threatened to reveal evidence against them if they did.
Govindan’s legal notice to Suresh made the other CPI(M) leaders’ silence about the scandal even more clear. As a rising power centre in the party, Govindan, who became the party’s state secretary last August, sends a strong message to his colleagues that he won’t use Suresh’s lack of credibility as a shield, which the CPI(M) always did when she made accusations. It’s also in line with what Govindan said, that the party wouldn’t put up with bad habits and would go on a strong drive to fix things.
Congress state president K Sudhakaran made fun of Vijayan’s silence by saying that Vijayan should use Govindan as a model. “Vijayan, who is acting deaf and dumb, should make the party state secretary [Govindan] a model. Other CPI(M) leaders should also take legal action against Suresh if her claims are false,” he said.