Kerala: Opposition walks out of Assembly to protest 'political patronage' to narcotics case accused

The Minister also said the ongoing police probe in the Karunagapally case has not yielded any evidence against Shanavas.

Published: 02nd February 2023 12:54 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd February 2023 03:54 PM   |  A+A-

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan (Photo | Express)

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan (File photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Casting doubts on the sincerity of the LDF government's ongoing anti-drug campaigns, the Opposition staged a walkout in the Assembly on Thursday accusing it of giving political patronage to the accused in narcotics cases. The government staunchly defended its anti-narcotics initiatives and urged the Opposition not to erode the unity against the drug mafia.

Mathew Kuzhalnadan of the Congress, who gave the notice for an adjournment motion to discuss the issue, cited the alleged involvement of CPM leader and Alappuzha municipal councillor A Shanavas in the recent Karunagapally banned tobacco products seizure case. Kuzhalnadan said the case exposed the political patronage that the CPM was providing to the accused. The Congress MLA's remark, that a section of people have entered the CPM using wealth earned through narcotics trade, triggered a brief commotion in the assembly.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan intervened and asked if the Congress had deputed Kuzhalnadan to utter "nonsense" in the Assembly against a political party. He also warned the Opposition not to cross its limits. Leader of the Opposition VD Sathesan stoutly defended Kuzhalnadan and added that he was fulfilling the task entrusted to him by the party with utmost responsibility.

Excise Minister MB Rajesh listed out the hike in number of narcotic cases, rise in quantity of drug seizures and steep increase in the number of those booked for narcotic offences. He also cited a recent reply in Parliament which stated that Kerala has the highest conviction rate in narcotic cases in the country. The Minster said all this was proof of the government's efficiency and resolve in tackling the drug menace.

The Minister also said the ongoing police probe in the Karunagapally case has not yielded any evidence against Shanavas. He reiterated that the LDF government does not interfere in police investigation or make any efforts to shield the accused. Rajesh accused the Opposition of backtracking from the united fight against the drug mafia and warned them that any disunity among the government and opposition would only serve to help such elements.

Leader of the Opposition VD Satheesan said a degeneration has started in the CPM and added that the Karunagapally case shows how deep the rot was in the party. He alleged that the drug mafia was having a field day and goonda activities were also on the rise.

"There is a lack of sincerity in your anti-narcotic campaign. It is only aimed at shielding the accused close to you. Only if it is an honest campaign, shall we be with you," Satheesan told the government before leading the Opposition's walkout in protest.


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