Kerala

Kerala gold smuggling case | ED sees bid to cast aspersions on its integrity

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has reportedly revolved around to the view that a voice clip attributed to gold smuggling case accused Swapna Suresh was a well crafted “hit job” to portray the agency in an unflattering light to “stall” its ongoing high-profile investigations in Kerala.

The ED is exploring the possibility of seeking legal recourse against what officials believe to be a brazen attempt to cast aspersions on the agency’s integrity and hobble the prosecutorial process consequently.

Sources said the the ED might prefer a police complaint to unearth the provenance of the questionable voice recording that accused it of coercing suspects to incriminate Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in a false case. The ED suspected that a website with a pronounced political bias had released the voice recording initially. Soon, other news outlets picked it up.

The agency felt the recording had surfaced in the public domain shortly after it summoned C.M. Raveendran, private secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, for questioning in connection with the anti-money-laundering probe into the LIFE Mission-UAE Red Crescent contract.

The ED was also probing the suspected “kickbacks in the various infrastructure contracts” being implemented by the State government. The website had disseminated the clipping in the form of a meme heralded by an electronically generated caption.

Conspiracy angle

The ED believed that the creative work that went into the meme pointed to a measure of deliberation and possible conspiracy to tarnish the agency’s public and legal standing.

The ED was of the view that the audio recording was patently false and fabricated. At no point did the narrator name the ED. Moreover, Swapna had not complained in court that the agency had made her attest misleading statements.

The ED also denied it had persuaded Swapna to turn approver. Sources pointed out that Swapna was the prime accused in the gold smuggling related money laundering case. Legally, it was inexpedient for the ED to make her an approver in the case, officials pointed out.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 5:57:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/ed-sees-bid-to-cast-aspersions-on-its-integrity/article33143107.ece

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