Kerala

Swapna Suresh revealed alliances with ‘big sharks’ in gold smuggling

The Economic Offences Court pointed out that the statements given by the key accused Swapna Suresh and Sarith P.S revealed the involvement of ‘big sharks’ who operated the smuggling of foreign currencies and gold using the diplomatic channel.

Deepu C, Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, stated in the order granting the custody of M. Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, to the Customs (Preventive), Kochi for seven more days till December 7 as part of the probe in the gold smuggling case.

The investigating officials had submitted three statements given by Ms. Swapna and Mr. Sarith while in custody from November 27 to 29. Besides the gold smuggling incident, the Customs had registered a case against the two in the smuggling of 1.9 lakh US dollars by a former employee of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram to Cairo last year.

“The oral statements would reveal the involvement of big sharks who allegedly manipulated their solemn duties and thereby operated the smuggling of foreign currencies (their names and other details are withheld to ensure confidentiality). Their alleged involvement is shocking to the conscience and definitely, the intrinsic probe is necessary to corroborate the allegation. As per the new revelations, these persons have developed strong nexus with the officials of UAE consulate and thereby operated smuggling activities previously, without being caught,” the order stated.

The court said that the call records of Mr. Sivasankar were verified to ascertain his involvement after the sleuths recorded Ms. Swapna’s statement. “Truly, the forensic evidence collected after retrieving the data from his mobile phone, persuaded the investigating officer to hold that Sivasankar is involved in the smuggling operation by way of abetting the mastermind. After retrieving the deleted WhatsApp chats and other history, previous statements of accused were cross-checked. Thus, Investigating Officer arrived at a definite conclusion that Swapna had actually given the statement purposefully to exonerate Sivasankar for the reason known to her. In this context, the Investigating Officer has justifiable reason to arraign Sivasankar as accused,” the court observed.

The court claimed that the offence alleged is serious in nature and termed the smuggling of huge quantity of gold through the diplomatic channel as “unprecedented”.

The mode of abetment and quid pro quo in the smuggling-deal etc. are required to be investigated for getting more clarity, it said.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 5:13:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/swapna-suresh-revealed-alliances-with-big-sharks-in-gold-smuggling/article33221391.ece

Next Story