Kerala govt seeks legal advice to file case against ED

Kerala govt seeks legal advice to file case against ED

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government has sought legal advice from the Director General of Prosecution to file a case against the Enforcement Directorate (ED) after it was alleged that the gold smuggling case accused Swapna Suresh was pressurised to give statements against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The legal advice was sought after considering the probe team’s report in connection with Swapna's audio clip. Swapna had confirmed that it was her voice in the clip. The ED had made efforts to link the CM to the case, as per the statements of the police officer who was on security duty while Swapna was in the ED custody. The woman senior civil police officer deposed that attempts were made to compel Swapna to say that the money found in the locker was given to her by (former principal secretary to the CM) Sivasankar and that the Chief Minister had given that money to Sivasankar.

As per the officer's statements, she heard ED DySP Radhakrishnan saying that Swapna can be made an approver in the case if she gave such a statement.

The statements of another police officer had also emerged. According to her statements, most of the questions to Swapna were phrased such that to make her name the CM.

Vinodhini does not turn up, Customs to issue notice again

Kodiyeri Balakrishnan with his wife Vinodini.

The Customs preventive wing would issue another notice to Vinodhini, wife of CPM politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, to appear for questioning in the Dollar smuggling case.

Though she was issued a notice earlier, asking her to appear for questioning on Wednesday, she not did not turn up.

The notice was issued after it was found that a SIM card in her name was used in one of the iPhones bought by Unitac MD Santhosh Eapen, an accused in the case. Expecting her arrival, a huge posse of police and media personnel waited at the Customs Preventive Office on Wednesday.

The Customs said that the notice was given directly and sent over email.

Meanwhile, Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan has reportedly informed the Customs that he would not be able to appear for questioning on Friday as he is busy with some other matters, sources indicated.

Dollar Smuggling: Sandeep Nair 6th accused

The Customs has submitted in the economic offences court that Sandeep Nair has been arraigned as the sixth accused in the Dollar smuggling case linked to the diplomatic channel gold smuggling case.

The probe team has also submitted a plea to arrest and question Sandeep Nair, who is in COFEPOSA preventive detention at the Thiruvananthapuram central jail.

The Customs arraigned Sandeep as an accused based on the statements of Swapna Suresh, P S Sarith and Santhosp Eapen, and the available evidence.

Santosh also deposed that the commission was credited to Sandeep Nair’s bank account for getting the contract for the Life Mission project in Wadakkanchery.

Swapna can be allowed visitors without Customs permission: Prisons dept
Swapna Suresh

Gold Smuggling: Law Ministry backs NIA

The Union Law Ministry has backed the National Investigation Agency (NIA)'s contention that the diplomatic channel gold smuggling case in Kerala was a threat to national security. This would favour the NIA, which is set to approach the Supreme Court against the bail granted by the Kerala High Court for the 12 accused in the gold smuggling case. The High Court had criticised the prosecution for not being able to produce sufficient reasons to justify invoking the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) against the accused.

The NIA had sought the advice of the Law Department to approach the Supreme Court against the HC verdict.

The Law ministry stated that there was veracity in the NIA's contention that the large-scale gold smuggling through the diplomatic channel was to fund terror activities.

Earlier, the Rajasthan High Court had refused to quash the FIR in the case filed by the NIA over the smuggling of 1.5kg gold through the Jaipur airport. The SC on Monday issued notices to the Centre and NIA after a plea was filed against this. The High Court had upheld the NIA move to invoke UAPA in the case.

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