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Gold case accused links Kerala CM, Speaker, ministers in forex smuggling

KC Gopakumar Kochi | Updated on March 05, 2021

Swapna Suresh   -  PTI

Claims involvement of Speaker and three Cabinet Ministers

Swapna Suresh, a prime accused in the diplomatic gold smuggling case, has claimed that foreign currency was smuggled at the instance of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan, according to a statement filed by the Customs before the Kerala High Court.

The Customs has registered a case in connection with the alleged smuggling of US dollars worth nearly ₹1.30 crore by a former finance head of the UAE Consulate, Thiruvananthapuram, to the UAE. Besides Swapna, PS Sarith and M Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary to Chief Minister are also accused in the case.

Shocking revelation, says Customs

Sumit Kumar, Commissioner of Customs (Preventive), Kochi, submitted in the statement that Swapna had also made a “shocking revelation” alleging Pinarayi Vijayan's close connections with the previous Consul General of UAE and illegal monetary transactions.

The statement was filed in response to a petition filed by the State Government challenging certain remarks in the order of the Ernakulam Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences) Court’s providing security to Swapna Suresh, now held at the women’s Prison and Correctional Home, Attakulangara, Thiruvananthapuram.

The Customs Commissioner said Swapna Suresh had made the allegations about the Chief Minister, the Assembly Speaker and three ministers in the State Cabinet. She had also claimed involvement of high-profile persons and the kickbacks received by them from various deals.

Links with high-profile politicians

She was aware of all these transactions and was a witness to them as she was well versed in Arabic and had acted as the translator in these deals. The role of former Principal Secretary Sivasankar as a link between the high-profile politicians and the UAE Consulate Officials as well as some others and in coordination of illegal financial deals under the cover of various activities and projects of the government was also revealed in the confidential statements given before the Magistrate Court.

The Customs was prepared to produce in a sealed cover before the court the copies of the statements of Swapna Suresh recorded under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure and under section 108 of the Customs Act, he said.

Threat perception justified

The statement further said that the apprehension of Swapna Suresh regarding her safety in the prison and threat to her life was perfectly justified and she could not be found at fault in seeking protection as the facts disclosed were highly sensitive.

The Government in its petition pointed out that the observation of the Magistrate Court that there was absolutely no ground to disbelieve the version of Swapna Suresh was bad, as it had been made without seeking a report from the Director-General of Prisons. The State government submitted that before making the observations, the ACJM court ought to have called for details from the prison authorities and verified them.

Published on March 05, 2021

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