Swapna Suresh smuggled foreign currencies worth crores abroad

Swapna Suresh smuggled foreign currencies worth crores abroad
M Sivasankar and Swapna Suresh

Thiruvananthapuram: Swapna Suresh, one of the main accused in the diplomatic baggage gold smuggling case, smuggled foreign currencies also worth crores abroad, investigating agencies have found.

The Customs Department, which is investigating the gold smuggling case, will file a case for smuggling of currencies, too. M Sivasankar, the former principal secretary of the chief minister, may also be named in the case as he had travelled with Swapna Suresh.

The department has found that she had smuggled dollars by violating the limit allowed for carrying foreign currencies.

The Customs is investigating the six foreign trips made by Sivasankar and Swapna together. There are indications that Swapna smuggled the currencies during these trips.

Investigators have obtained information that Swapna was also given VIP treatment along with Sivasankar during these trips. The Customs is collecting the details of their travel, baggage and other related matters.

The chief minister visited the UAE from October 17-20 in 2018 to seek flood relief. Prior to this visit, Swapna and Sivasankar had gone to Dubai. Later, Swapna was a part of Sivasankar’s Oman trip, too. The Customs department found that the two had travelled abroad together four more times.

The probe team has come to know that in June, Sivasankar had contacted an airline company to help Swapna get five tickets to Dubai on a Vande Bharat flight. Swapna had said that the tickets were for foreign nationals stuck in India due to the COVID pandemic. It is suspected that foreign currencies were smuggled through the baggage of these passengers, too.

Customs investigating 3 cases

The Customs has so far registered three cases — for gold smuggling, for importing religious texts through diplomatic channels without paying duties and then distributing them and for importing dates and distributing them to orphanages in the state.

Swapna and the other accused have received bail in the gold smuggling case.

The Customs may arrest Swapna, Sarith and Sandeep again after filing the new case. It plans to question Sivasankar on Friday. During the interrogation, he may also be asked about the distribution of dates and smuggling of currencies.

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