14:22 GMT23 September 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): The Communist-led government in the Indian state of Kerala has been under fire for its alleged complicity with those arrested in a high-profile diplomatic gold smuggling case. The government suspended a high-ranking official in the State Chief’s office, and India’s anti-terror agency has taken over the investigation.

    A fire at the general administration department of the secretariat in Kerala on Tuesday evening has destroyed a large number of documents, believed to be related to allegations of the state chief's complicity in a diplomatic gold smuggling case.

    State officials said that an electric short circuit caused the fire but there were no casualties, as it started after office hours.

    Ramesh Chennithala, the opposition leader in Kerala state legislature, alleged that it was sabotage and an attempt to destroy key evidence in the case relating to diplomatic gold smuggling.

    The opposition leader demanded the incident be probed by the federal anti-terror body - the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

    “We understand files were from Political Section, dealing with VVIPs, documents relating to foreign trips and many politically crucial secret documents,” said Chennithala who visited the venue.

    Earlier, the Kerala government suspended a high-ranking official linked to the state chief for his alleged complicity in the gold smuggling case.

    Opposition parties in the State had alleged State Chief Pinarayi Vijayan’s involvement in the case.

    Indian customs recovered 30 kilograms of gold from a diplomatic cargo addressed to the regional mission office of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at Thiruvananthapuram airport in Kerala on 5 July.


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