Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan has demanded an investigation into the death of Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty’s former private secretary Abbas Sait.
At a news conference here on Wednesday, Mr. Achuthanandan alleged that the Industries Minister’s former aide had died just when he was about to be arrested in connection with an arms deal case. The government should also ensure disclosure of the findings of the investigation into the arms deal and Sait’s involvement in it, he said.
Mr. Achuthanandan said there must also be an investigation into the out-of-the-way instruction given to the passport offices in Malappuram and Kozhikode to return to their holders passports cancelled on account of tampering and manipulation. “I am asking the government with all sense of responsibility to investigate the death (of Abbas Sait), the outcome of the probe into the arms deal, and the out-of-the-way instruction given to the passport offices,” the Opposition leader said.
Mr. Achuthanandan asked Union Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed to clarify on what criteria special instructions were issued to the passports offices of Malappuram and Kozhikode. The passports were tampered with to traffic girls aged between 16 and 20 years to Gulf countries as housemaids. This was done after the appointment of Mr. Kunhalikutty’s former gunman as the passport officer in Malappuram, which in itself was an unprecedented action.
The police had registered 137 cases for passport tampering within a short span of time. Mr. Ahamed and Mr. Kunhalikutty came on the scene at this point and instructed the investigators not to pursue these cases. Simultaneously, the Ministry of External Affairs also instructed the Kozhikode and Malappuram passport offices to return the cancelled passports as they were being renewed. This was against the country’s interests. He would soon write to the Union Defence Minister and the Prime Minister on the issue, Mr. Achuthanandan said.