Gold, dollar smuggling cases: No progress in probe for a month

Gold, dollar smuggling cases: No progress in probe for a month
P S Sarith, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair. File photo

Thiruvananthapuram: The investigations into the gold and dollar smuggling cases have not been making any headway. The investigation team had sought permission from the Customs board and the Union Finance Ministry to question Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan among others in the currency smuggling case. Though the probe team had sought permission one month ago, the permission is yet to be granted, sources indicate.

With this, the Customs and Enforcement Directorate (ED) probes have not made much progress in the past one month.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had shot off a missive to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that central agencies were trying to destabilise the state government and the probe was to stall the state's projects. This letter was handed over from the PM's Office to the Finance Minister's office.

The Customs and ED are under the control of the Department of Revenue, Union Finance Ministry.

Based on the letter, the central department had reportedly sought a report from the probe agencies on the investigation conducted so far.

The ED had last taken the statements of C M Raveendran, additional private secretary of the chief minister. However, the probe has not progressed since.

The Customs had made some key moves in the currency smuggling case during one stage of the investigation. Two Keralites were summoned from Dubai and questioned, based on the statements of Swapna Suresh and P S Sarith. However, no further steps were taken in this.

The court had even remarked that there were startling information in the statements of main accused Swapna Suresh and Sarith, recorded under the CrPC Section 164. However, no further probe was held into this.

Thus, the investigations of the ED and Customs have been moving at a slow pace for one month. The Congress has alleged that the BJP at the Centre has reached an agreement with the Kerala government. And the BJP has been on the defensive as the party is not able to give a clear answer on the slow pace of the probe.

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