In what is seen as a major setback for 'gold smuggling'-accused Swapna Suresh, the High Court on Friday refused to quash the FIR registered against her for allegedly spreading falsehoods against the Chief Minister, his family, former minister K T Jaleel and others, which in turn had allegedly set off widespread riots in Kerala.
The FIR was lodged on the basis of a complaint filed by K T Jaleel. Even while dismissing her plea, the Court said she was at liberty to challenge the final report of the police. The police had told the court that the investigation was at an advanced stage and the final report would be submitted soon.
Jaleel's complaint was that Swapna, in cahoots with political vested interests, had made a false and defamatory statement before the Magistrate Court under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in a case pending before the Principal District Sessions Court, Ernakulam, and then went on to disclose some parts of her statement to the media. The FIR said that Swapna had committed offences under Sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and 120 B (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Swapna argued that her disclosure to the media of certain parts of her 164 statement was not an illegal act. She said the statement was a public document as it was part of the record of the Sessions Court. She termed the government's actions as a clear case of "an attempt to intimidate, harass and coerce her to withdraw the statement given before the Magistrate Court".
The State Government had told the Court that politically motivated rioting had broken out in various parts of Kerala within half an hour of Swapna's disclosures to the media.
The State Police Chief Anil Kant had constituted a 12-member team headed by Crime Branch SP P Madhusoodhanan to probe the conspiracy case against Swapna. ADGP Shaikh Darvesh was tasked with supervising the investigation.