If it was a highway robbery in Kerala that had put the BJP unit in Kerala under scanner for suspected hawala money smuggling for electioneering, now a highway accident claiming five lives has exposed links of CPM-DYFI activists with gold smuggling rackets in the state.
The CPM in Kerala is facing an embarrassment as the probe into the road accident claiming five lives at Kozhikode district on June 21 has now exposed the links of the key suspect in the gold smuggling racket, Arjun Ayyanki, with CPM-DYFI activists. Ayyanki himself was found to be a former DYFI activist and a promoter of DYFI on social media. The car he was using was owned by CPM-DYFI local leader in Kannur, C Sajesh.
In a bid to control damage, CPM and DYFI expelled Sajesh and decided to launch a drive to trace all party workers having such shady links.
Close on the heels of reports that the five killed in the accident were members of a gang having links with gold smuggling through the Kozhikode International Airport, the customs launched a search for Kannur native Ayyanki. One Mohammed Shafeek was held at the airport with 2.3-kilogram gold and he revealed the involvement of Ayyanki in the smuggling. It was later found that Ayyanki was also present near the airport.
Police and customs suspect that while the gold was smuggled by a gang based at Koduvally in Kozhikode, two other gangs, including the one led by Ayyanki and another from Palakkad district, were trying to steal it. Without realising that the gold was seized by customs officials, the gangs were involved in a chase on the highway in an attempt to steal the smuggled gold. This caused the SUV with the gang from Palakkad to ram into a lorry. Five people were killed in the crash.
Kerala had witnessed a highway robbery just ahead of the April 6 Assembly polls leading to allegations that hawala money of Rs.3.5 crore meant for BJP's illegal electioneering was stolen. The state police already quizzed many BJP leaders, including close aides of party state president K Surendran and the BJP faced a lot of embarrassment. Hence, the CPM's nexus with gold smuggling has come as a balm for the BJP and provides an avenue for them to attack the CPM.