Kerala Gold Smuggling: Bag Full of Currency Was Sent to CM, Says Swapna Suresh
Swapna Suresh claimed that UAE Consulate imported items for Pinarayi Vijayan as per Sivasankar's instructions.
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Sending ripples across Kerala, Swapna Suresh, the key accused in the Kerala gold-smuggling case, on Tuesday, 7 June, pinned allegations against Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the case.
She deposed before the magistrate court about the involvement of the chief minister, his wife Kamala, daughter Veena, former minister KT Jaleel and additional private secretary C M Raveendran, and former bureaucrat Nalini Netto, in the case, she told media persons.
The case pertains to the smuggling of 30 kg gold worth Rs 15 crore from the diplomatic baggage of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Consulate at Thiruvananthapuram airport on 5 July 2020. The National Investigation Agency, the Enforcement Directorate and the Customs conducted separate investigations into the racket.
Several people, including Sivasankar, the former Principal Secretary to the Kerala CM and former employees of the UAE consulate – Swapna Suresh and Sarith PS – were arrested in connection with the case.
‘Facing a Threat to My Life:' Swapna Suresh
After spending 16 months behind bars, Swapna was released from jail in November last year.
Recently, she had approached the Special Court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to record her statement under Section 164 of CrPC. Following her petition, the special court assigned the Ernakulam chief judicial magistrate court to assign a magistrate to record her statement.
Addressing media on Monday, she alleged that her life was in danger.
“I am here to reveal the involvement of other accused persons in the case. I am facing a threat to my life now. The statement recording will continue and I will reach the court by noon on Tuesday.”Swapna Suresh
On Tuesday, she explained how her association with the controversy began with a phone call from Sivashankar.
“It all began way back in 2016 when the CM was on a trip to UAE. It was then that Sivasankar contacted me first since I was the secretary in the consulate. He told me the chief minister had forgotten to take one of his bags and it had to be taken to Dubai immediately. We sent the bag to the CM through a diplomat in the consulate. When it was brought to the consulate we found that there was currency in it. That's how it all started,” she said.
She added that it was during the baggage scan, as part of the consulate's protocol, did she find out about the contents of the bag.
She also alleged that biryani vessels containing heavy metals were taken from the consulate general's house to the Cliff House, the official residence of the CM.
"These vessels had heavy objects other than biryani. I can't reveal everything right now. I will make further revelations when the time is right," she added.
Despite giving detailed testimonies to central investigating agencies, there are several aspects that have not been investigated, she alleged.
Swapna Had Earlier Clarified : ‘No Personal Relationship With CM'
Earlier this year, Swapna Suresh had alleged that she was exploited and manipulated by Sivasankar. This statement came after Sivasankar in his upcoming autobiography 'Aswathamavu: Verum Oru Aana' alleged that Swapna had trapped him by gifting him an iPhone.
She alleged that it was Sivasankar "who destroyed her life" and "all what she knew, he also knew."
"That's very heartbreaking because I never expected Sivasankar to level such an allegation against me because our relationship was so strong we have exchanged so many emotions and so many things it's not just an iPhone. So I don't think Swapna Suresh had a requirement to actually cheat him by gifting an iPhone," Swapna said.
She also pointed out that he had told her that he will take voluntary retirement and settle down with her in the UAE. She had also accused him of helping her and her family to sneak out of Kerala, despite strict COVID-19 regulations, when the case surfaced in July 2020.
Sivasankar was arrested on 28 October 2020, after the Kerala High Court rejected his anticipatory bail petition. He was released on bail on 4 February 2021.
Swapna had earlier clarified that she did not have any “personal relationship” with the CM and had only an official association with all the ministers mentioned.
"With KT Jaleel also it was purely official; he had a very close association and acquaintance with the Consul General then. With ex-Kerala Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan, we had a good, genuine friendship, family relationship," she had said.
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