CPM-linked union issues threat to customs after leader questioned


The ruling CPI (M)-affiliated Kerala Secretariat Employees Association on Monday hit out at the Customs department, days after the state assistant protocol officer — a prominent leader of the association — alleged he was threatened by the agency when questioned in connection with the gold smuggling case last week.

While state assistant protocol officer M S Harikrishnan complained to police that Customs officials had threatened him, his association issued a statement saying that “it would see the hands of the Customs do not raise again against secretariat employees”.

The state protocol office is authorized to issue duty exemption certificates to the consulates for import without Customs examination. The protocol office also handles files related to foreign trips of the Assembly Speaker, ministers and bureaucrats. There was a fire at the state protocol office last year after it came under the scanner of probe agencies.

Association general secretary K N Ashok Kumar said Customs is repeatedly harassing the secretariat staff to depose before them against the state government. The trade union leader said Customs is a crippled horse and a “bootlicker” of corporates and the Sangh Parivar.

CPI(M) has mounted an attack on Customs after the agency decided to question Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan in connection with the smuggling of forex out of the country. His assistant private secretary K Ayyappan was earlier questioned despite an attempt by the Assembly secretariat to prevent the agency citing legal protection.

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