Kerala

Kerala gold smuggling case | Swapna claimed connections with bureaucrats, CMO: NIA

Kerala gold smuggling case accused Swapna Suresh.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Swapna Suresh, second accused in the diplomatic gold smuggling case, claimed that she had personal acquaintance with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in her official capacity as a representative of the UAE Consular General, the NIA informed the Special Court here on Thursday.

The accused had also given statements that she had high connections with top bureaucrats and the Chief Minister’s Office. She had admitted to having acquaintance with top police officers in connection with the arrangements made for trainings in traffic reforms in the UAE, the NIA informed the court while opposing her bail plea on Thursday.

At some point of time, the NIA said, the accused had planned to settle down in Tanzania along with P.S. Sarith, the first accused. She was involved in a network of highly influential persons in bureaucracy, the police and the consulate. She had also deep connections with persons involved in the smuggling of gold in large quantities. The involvement of the accused in a larger network of dubious elements needed to be probed further, Assistant Solicitor General P. Vijayakumar told the court.

Further probe into the money mobilised abroad for the procurement of gold, its smuggling, circulation and encashment was required. More accused would have to be roped in regarding the local marketing of the contraband gold, the NIA said.

The NIA submitted that the money collected through the smuggling of gold was believed to have been used for anti-national and terrorist activities, which attracted the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prohibition) Act.

‘No proof’

Excerpts of the statement given by Swapna were read out in the court on the day.

Arguing for the petitioner, Geo Paul, her counsel, submitted that the NIA could not gather any evidence in the case to prove the terrorism angle for the case. The accused was in the custody of the NIA for more than 25 days. Yet, the agency could not unearth any evidence to prove its charges. The gold that was recovered from her was her ornaments and not gold bar or contraband gold, he submitted.

The court posted the case for August 10.

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Printable version | Oct 1, 2020 8:10:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/swapna-claimed-top-connections-nia/article32286811.ece

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