Kerala Gold Smuggling Case: Govt Transfers Vigilance Director Over Controversy

The Vigilance Director had been in touch with Shaj Kiran and there were multiple phone calls between the two.

Kerala Gold Smuggling Case: Govt Transfers Vigilance Director Over Controversy

The Kerala government transferred Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau Director M R Ajith Kumar on Friday,10 June, hours after gold smuggling case accused Swapna Suresh claimed an acquaintance of her had spoken to a senior police officer to provide help to her.

"M R Ajith Kumar, IPS (KL:1995), Additional Director General of Police, Vigilance with full additional charge of Director, Vigilance & Anti Corruption Bureau, is transferred with immediate effect," according to an order.

The state government order came hours after Swapna said that Shaj Kiran, a former journalist who claimed proximity with top police officers including the Additional Director General of Police, had promised to help remove legal obstacles that are preventing her from travelling abroad.

According to reports, the Vigilance Director had been in touch with Shaj and there were multiple phone calls between the two.


Government Under Criticism

The government has also come under criticism as VACB officers in plainclothes had earlier taken away PS Sarith, another accused in the gold smuggling case, to a VACB facility, and the Palakkad police were not aware about the Vigilance move.

The police then launched a missing person search after Sarith’s co-accused Swapna reported his ‘kidnapping’.

The VACB later issued an official statement that Sarith had accompanied the officers on his own for interrogation in connection with the LIFE mission corruption case.

However, terming the VACB statement as a lie, Sarith said the plainclothes officers had not identified themselves and pulled him out of his house and whisked him away to the local VACB office.

Sarith alleged that the plainclothes officers mistreated him at the office and he suffered an arm injury as a result. Sarith also alleged that they confiscated his mobile phone.

On Friday, Swapna released an audio recording of a conversation she purportedly had with a former journalist called Shaj Kiran.

A day earlier, Swapna had alleged that Shaj Kiran had threatened her for naming the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his family members in a statement under Section 164 of the CrPC.

During the conversation, the audio of which was released by Swapna in Palakkad, the person identified as Shaj Kiran makes accusations against Pinarayi Vijayan and the state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, which Swapna says was recorded after he allegedly threatened her.

PS Sarith, who is a co-accused in the gold smuggling case, is also part of the conversation.

Swapna, who was a former employee of the UAE Consulate in Kerala, after recording the 164 statement, had alleged that a bag of cash was sent to Dubai through the diplomatic route while the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was in Dubai on an official visit.

Swapna told the media that her statement named the chief minister, his wife Kamala Vijayan, daughter Veena Vijayan, former state Chief Secretary Nalini Netto, Additional Private Secretary to Kerala chief minister CM Raveendran and former Kerala Education Minister and current legislator KT Jaleel.

Meanwhile, the Kerala CM rubbished Swapna’s allegations as baseless and politically motivated.

(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)

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