Fire in Kerala Secretariat, oppn alleges conspiracy to destroy gold case evidence

Thiruvananthapuram: A major fire at the Kerala Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram has caused a huge commotion in the State. The fire triggered opposition protests and allegations of a link to the gold smuggling case.

A fire broke out in the protocol department in the North block of the Kerala Secretariat on Tuesday. Sources said the block houses important offices and the fire broke out at section II of the protocol section under the General Administration Department. It is learnt that some files, documents and computers were burnt in the fire.

While the State government said that ADGP Manoj Abraham will probe the incident, Minister E P Jayarajan alleged that the fire was the handiwork of the Opposition.

Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala met Governor Arif Mohammed Khan and sought his intervention. “The files were deliberately burned realising that the ongoing probe of the NIA and ED would expose shady dealings. One has to suspect the role of the CM’s former principal secretary M Sivasankar behind this fire,” he said.

He and other Congress leaders protested outside the secretariat for some time until they were allowed to enter. Members of the BJP also protested.

Soon after the fire, which was controlled immediately, the secretariat premises witnessed dramatic scenes. Chief Secretary Vishwas Mehta asked all mediapersons to keep away from the compound.