Court seeks ED's response on Sandeep Nair's claim

Sandeep Nair
Sandeep Nair

Kochi: The Ernakulam Sessions Court has sought the explanation of Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the letter written by gold-smuggling case accused Sandeep Nair in which he alleged that the investigation officials had assured that they would not oppose his bail plea if he named Kerala chief minister, ministers and a top leader's son in a related money laundering case.

Sandeep's letter was received by the court through the superintendent of the Thiruvananthapuram central jail. The court has sought a report from the investigation agency on the allegations raised by the accused.

The ED, meanwhile, will disclose the circumstances under which Kerala Police personnel deployed for the security of Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair -- both accused in the gold-smuggling case -- have levelled allegations against the probe agency in an organised manner. It suspects a joint face-saving bid by prominent people who have been exposed by another accused Swapna as Kerala is in the midst of an assembly election campaign.

The ED might come under pressure if the contents of the letter also referred to the matters conveyed in the confidential statements submitted before the court. However, what strengthens ED's case is that the allegations raised by Sandeep Nair now were not conveyed by him despite the court granting him opportunity on three occasions to submit complaints, if any, against the behaviour of investigating officials.

Central agencies to expedite probe

With the CPM leadership and government deciding not to cooperate with the central agencies at least till the assembly polls are over, the investigating officials are planning to scale up the probe.

Though the Customs had issued notice to CPM politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan's  wife in connection with the possession of an iPhone, she did not appear before the agency. The Customs has now served a second notice to her. If she fails to appear then too as per the Customs Act the third notice would be given to her in two or three days. If she still refuses to appear then the Customs will produce the three notices as evidence and file a plea before economic offences court at Ernakulam for issuing a non-bailable arrest warrant against her. 

The iPhone is a crucial evidence in the dollar smuggling case. 

The Customs will also produce digital evidence in the court to show that the iPhone given to UAE consul general was used by Vinodini Balakrishnan. The Customs will apprise the court that Vinodini was been summoned to appear before the agency just to find out as to how did she get the phone and her refusal to appear has only added to the mystery shrouding the case.

Earlier, Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan, who too was named by Swapna over links to the racket, had submitted a letter to the Customs seeking more time to appear before the agency. The Customs has sought legal opinion on the future course.

Meanwhile, the Customs Board has directed the investigating agency to take action in connection with the case pertaining to the receipt of 17,000 kg of dates in the name of UAE Consulate through the diplomatic channel. Considering the huge price of dates, it appears that a massive fraud had taken place. 

The money involved is huge warranting  strict action against the accused.

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