Swapna, Sarith move Kerala HC for anticipatory bail in case filed by Jaleel

Swapna Suresh. File.

Swapna Suresh. File. | Photo Credit: R.K. Nithin

Swapna Suresh, an accused in the diplomatic gold smuggling case, on Wednesday approached the Kerala High Court seeking anticipatory bail, alleging that a person close to the Chief Minister threatened her with arrest in the case registered against her on a complaint by former Minister and MLA K.T.Jaleel.

Sarith P.S., another accused in the gold smuggling case, also sought anticipatory bail in the case.

In his complaint, Mr. Jaleel alleged that the petitioners had conspired with some others and Swapna gave a false statement before the Magistrate Court under Section 164 of CrPC in a case pending before the Ernakulam Principal District Sessions Court. He also alleged that Swapna spread false news to the media thereby tarnishing the image of the Chief Minister, the Government, and Mr. Jaleel. He had alleged that they had committed an offence under Sections 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot) and 120 B (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

Swapna and Sarith alleged in their petition that “on 08.06.2022, a person named Shaji Kiran came to the office of the petitioners at Palakkad around 1.30 pm. He is a person who was introduced to the petitioner by Mr. Sivasankar stating that he is a person close to Pinarayi Vijayan and Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. Shaji, who is one of the Directors of Gospel for Asia, an organization of K.P Yohannan, is the person who is handling the investment of the Chief Minister as well as Kodiyeri Balakrishnan aborad. He informed the petitioners that he has come as instructed by Mr. Vijayan so as to settle the issue created by the first petitioner by giving statement under Section 164 CrPC. He came to the office in a Toyota vehicle bearing registration No. UP-41 R 0500. He started pressurising the petitioners to surrender before the Chief Minister.”

The petitioners added “he informed that already a case has been registered against the first petitioner (Swapna Suresh) and if they do not surrender by openly stating that she has given a statement under Section 164 CrPC at the instigation of the petitioners’ present counsel, RSS and BJP, then the petitioners would face dire consequences to the effect that they will have to remain in jail for long. He also informed the petitioners that though the case has been only against the first petitioner and the offences registered against them are only under Section 153 and Section 120 B of IPC, they will include more charges and the second petitioner will also be included as an accused. The police will take both of them into custody and will be remanded to judicial custody”.

The petitioners also added "his demand is that the first petitioner should record an audio/video stating that the facts contained in the statement given under Section 164 CrPC is false and she was compelled to do it. He has given the petitioners time up to 10 am on 09.06.2022. He informed the petitioners that on 09.06.2022, he along with the DGP will be present before the Chief Minister and at that time he will have to give the statement of the first petitioner to the Chief Minister failing which serious consequences will be followed".

The Palakkad Vigilance unit had taken Sarith into custody on June 8 without notice or revealing their identity, reportedly for questioning in the corruption case in the Life Mission project implementation. The only information the four vigilance officers wanted to know was about the forces behind Swapna in giving the statement under Section 164 before the court. Sarith was let off by noon but they seized his phone. The petitioners had recorded some portion of the conversation of Shaji Kiran.

It is highly necessary in the interest of justice to see that the petitioners are not illegally arrested and taken into custody in the name of questioning as the intention is merely to harass them and coerce them to withdraw the statement given by Swapna under Section 164 of CRPC, the petitioners said.

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2022 10:30:07 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/swapna-sarith-move-hc-for-anticipatory-bail-in-case-filed-by-jaleel/article65509899.ece