Kochi: An accused in the gold smuggling case has told the investigators that the United Arab Emirates consulate in Thiruvananthapuram was involved in currency smuggling during a visit by a high-level delegation led by the chief minister to Dubai.
P S Sarith claimed to have received a call from state protocol officer Hari Krishnan as soon as the chief minister and his team left for Dubai. The officer said that a package was left behind and that had to be flown to Dubai by the consulate. Sarith said Swapna Suresh, a co-accused, told him that the consulate was informed about the package by M Sivasankar, who was then the chief minister’s principal secretary.
He said that he collected the package from Hari Krishnan’s office in the state secretariat and carried it to the consulate, where the presence of currency notes was detected in a security scan. A Dubai police officer carried the parcel to Dubai, Sarith said.
Sarith also claimed that Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan handed over a bag to be passed on to the Consul-General in early 2020. “The speaker invited Swapna to his apartment near the Thiruvananthapuram airport in January or February. Swapna and her husband asked me to accompany them. Sreeramakrishnan gave us a Loka Kerala Sabha bag with his initials ‘SRK’ on it. He said that the contents of the bag had to be handed over to the consul general and the bag was a gift for us.”
He said that they found ten bunches of currency notes when the bag was handed over to the consul general in his house at Kowdiar.
Sarith said that Sivasankar had warned him and Swapna to be vigilant after receiving an Intelligence Bureau report about gold smuggling through diplomatic channels in 2020 April.