Thiruvananthapuram: All the gold smuggling by Swapna Suresh and her gang was done after she joined the IT Department’s Space Park. In her statement to the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Swapna said she had not attempted to smuggle gold when she was employed at the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram before joining the Space Park.
Swapna joined the Space Park on October 21, 2019. She and her gang conducted gold smuggling trials twice that month. Subsequently, gold was smuggled through the Thiruvananthapuram Airport 19 times — four times in November 2019, 12 times in December 2019, and once each in January, March and then June. She and the gang were arrested when they tried to smuggle gold again towards the end of June.
According to Swapna, 36 kg of gold was smuggled in December 2019 alone.
The participation of Swapna in the UAE Day celebrations held on December 2, 2019, at a hotel in Thiruvananthapuram is also being investigated.
Swapna was the organiser of the event. Officials of Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Ltd (KSITIL), under which the Space Park functions, said that she had taken leave to take part in the function.
The Consulate has now closed operations after it was dragged into the gold smuggling controversy following Swapna’s statements to the investigating agencies. The official reason is that the "temporary shutdown" has been necessitated as employees could not report to work due because of the COVID pandemic.
'Swapna wielded influence in power corridors'
The Customs has reiterated that gold smuggling case accused Swapna Suresh wielded considerable influence in power corridors.
The Customs informed this to court during a hearing into a petition filed by Swapna, seeking a copy of the statements. Objecting to her request, the Customs urged the court to consider what would happen if she were to influence the witnesses.
The Customs had earlier said that the accused was influential in a submission to the court.
Swapna's lawyer contended that the statements were recorded under Section 108 and that she had the right to seek it.
Justice V G Arun postponed pronouncement of the verdict.