Kerala

ED moves to question Swapna Suresh over allegations against Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

In a development pregnant with political implications, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued a notice to diplomatic channel gold case accused Swapna Suresh to appear for questioning at the agency's office in Kochi on June 22.

The ED's notice to Swapna was widely perceived as the precursor of an investigation into the allegations raised by her against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his family.

Swapna had set off a political storm by filing a sworn statement in court relating to her public claim that Mr. Vijayan had allegedly exploited the heft of his office to import contraband gold and send tranches of foreign currency abroad via the UAE Consulate's diplomatic channel during the previous Left Democratic Front (LDF) administration.

The ED had issued the notice after reportedly verifying the sworn statement filed by Swapna under Section 164 of the CrPC before a magistrate. The agency reportedly received a copy of the affidavit via the Special Court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

As a cross-check, investigators weighed Swapna's latest statement with her earlier depositions to determine whether the "latest disclosures" revealed a new offence under the PMLA.

Swapna's accusations had cast Mr. Vijayan at the centre of an evolving high-level political scandal and shoved the State into another acrimonious season of aggressive street protests.

Scores of persons were injured on both sides when Congress and Bharathiya Janata Party (BJP) workers clashed with the police across Kerala, demanding Mr. Vijayan's resignation.

Intense speculation swirled around whether Swapna's "disclosures" would lay the ground for a possible criminal investigation into Mr. Vijayan.

The Congress and the BJP have alleged that Swapna's "disclosures" contained significant evidence of "criminality" against the previous LDF administration, including former Minister K. T. Jaleel, MLA.

However, the CPI(M) has accused an "RSS front organisation" of goading Swapna to taint Mr. Vijayan politically. It claimed that the outfit had succoured Swapna after her release on bail from prison and deployed her as a political tool against the government.

The LDF administration has pushed back by opening a criminal enquiry against Swapna for allegedly conspiring to denigrate the government. Swapna's allegations also generated a seemingly unending cycle of riveting political drama and heated primetime television debates.


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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 11:05:31 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/ed-moves-to-question-swapna-suresh-over-allegations-against-kerala-chief-minister-pinarayi-vijayan/article65540807.ece