Kerala Gold Smuggling Case Takes A Political Turn,Main Accused Swapna Suresh Alleged To Have Close Ties With CM’s Office

by Swarajya Staff - Jul 7, 2020 10:26 AM +05:30 IST
Kerala Gold Smuggling Case Takes A Political Turn,Main Accused Swapna Suresh Alleged To Have Close Ties With CM’s OfficeTwitter

In a major embarrassment to CPM-led LDF government and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, it has emerged that Swapna Suresh, the main accused in the attempt to smuggle 30 kg gold via a diplomatic consignment bound to the Thiruvananthapuram office of UAE Consulate General, was working as a consultant to one of the offices under the Kerala government's Information Technology (IT) ministry.

Vijayan heads the state’s IT ministry which has been embroiled in several controversies in the past with opposition parties frequently levelling charges of cronyism against the department in award of contracts.

Swapna Suresh, who previously worked as a consulate officer in UAE Consulate General, is now employed as marketing liaison officer of the Space Park under the Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited (KSITIL).

The customs department has revealed that Swapna Suresh is the master brain behind the attempt to smuggle around 30 kg gold from a diplomatic consignment bound to the UAE Consulate General, Thiruvananthapuram.

Swapna is said to have connived with former Consulate PRO Sarith. The duo is said to have used diplomatic channel to smuggle large quantities of gold into the state. As per protocol, diplomatic baggage are generally not subject to detailed scrutiny.

Swapna, who continued to maintain links to the consulate officials even after she left the job, continued to smuggle gold to Kerala by allegedly using her connections to get things cleared.

While Sarith has been detained by custom officials, Swapna is still absconding.

Mounting a scathing attack on the CPM-led LDF government and CM Pinarayi Vijayan, the BJP state president K Surendran said that as soon as Swapna was named in the smuggling case, the office of the Chief Minister and IT secretary began exerting pressure on the Customs to release her. Surendran said that involvement in the case will be revealed by checking the phone records of the office of the chief minister and IT secretary.

Leader of opposition in the state assembly and senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala demanded a CBI inquiry in to gold smuggling case including probing links between Swapna and the Chief Minister's Office and if Chennithala alleged that accused is closely connected with Kerala's IT secretary, who is also secretary of CM Pinarayi Vijayan.

The Embassy of the UAE in India said in the statement that it utterly condemns the attempted misuse of diplomatic channels by an individual engaged in smuggling activity.

The Embassy expressed its faith in the Indian judicial system and hoped that the name of the UAE mission would be cleared in the case.

“We trust the Indian authorities and have full faith in their investigation process. We know they are capable and will do the best in investigating the case and they will release the name of our consulate from any misconduct.” Gulf News quoted UAE Ambassador to India, Dr Ahmad Abdul Rahman Al Banna as saying.

Earlier on Sunday night, the UAE Embassy in New Delhi had released a statement in which it said a former employee was found to be behind the case according to preliminary investigations.

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