Kerala Gold smuggling case: Accused Swapna says bag with currency was sent to CM Pinarayi Vijayan in Dubai
One of the main accused in Kerala gold smuggling scam, Swapna Suresh said that a baggage containing currency was sent to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan when he was in Dubai in 2016
One of the main accused in the Kerala gold smuggling scam, Swapna Suresh said on Tuesday that a baggage containing currency was sent to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan when he was in Dubai in 2016.
In her confidential statement recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC before the judicial first class magistrate, Suresh highlighted the involvement of the Chief Minister, his former principal secretary M Sivasankar, CM's wife Kamala, daughter Veena, former minister KT Jaleel, his additional private secretary C M Raveendran, and former bureaucrat Nalini Netto.
Suresh said it began in 2016 when the CM was on a trip to UAE and Sivasankar had contacted her as she was the secretary at the consulate. He had told her that the Chief Minister had forgotten to take one of his bags and that it had to be taken to Dubai immediately. The bag was sent to the CM through a diplomat in the consulate.
She said she found out that there was currency in it once it was brought to the consulate. It was detected when the bag was scanned as a part of the consulate’ security protocol. It was not immediately clear what currency was in the bag. Biryani vessels containing heavy metals were taken from the consulate general's house to the CM’s official residence at Cliff House based on instructions from Sivasankar.
Suresh, on Monday, had said she was revealing these details because there was a threat to her life and added that she did not have any other intentions. She reiterated that she didn’t need any image building exercise by the media.
Sixteen months after her arrest in the gold smuggling case, Suresh was released from jail in November last year. She was taken into custody by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) along with another accused Sandeep Nair from Bengaluru on July 11, 2020. She was a former employee of the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.
The NIA, Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Customs conducted separate investigations into the racket that came to light with the seizure of gold worth Rs 15 crore from the diplomatic baggage of the UAE Consulate at Thiruvananthapuram airport on July 5, 2020. Sivasankar and another ex-employee of the UAE consulate, Sarith PS, were arrested in the case.
However, the Chief Minister rubbished the revelations stating that she was being used as part of a larger political conspiracy which was rejected by the people in the run up to the Assembly elections. “After a brief interval, an accused in the case is repeating the very same charges against us. There is not a shred of truth in them,” said the chief minister in an official statement.
Former minister KT Jaleel ridiculed the allegations in a social media post and Nalini Netto, who was Chief Secretary at the time did not comment on the issue.