Foreign currency smuggling case: No evidence found against CM, former Speaker so far

Pinarayi Vijayan
Pinarayi Vijayan. Photo: IANS

Kannur: The Customs (Preventive) wing is yet to lay its hands on any evidence that can incriminate Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and former Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan over a foreign currency smuggling case that was unearthed last year in the wake of probe into the smuggling of gold through diplomatic baggage.

In the show cause notices issued to the accused in dollar smuggling case, the Customs has made it clear that the incident took place a few years ago and that they have not been able to question the UAE diplomats including former UAE Consul General Jamal Hussain Al-Sabi yet.

The notice further states that the investigation into the case was still continuing.

The accused in gold and dollar smuggling cases Swapna Suresh and P S Sarith had given statements alleging that the foreign currency was smuggled to the UAE through the diplomats working at the Consulate and that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and former Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan had links with the smuggling.

The Customs (Preventive) wing had clearly stated about their statements in the explanatory note submitted before the Kerala High Court in March. However, the show cause notice indicates that the Customs has not received any evidence beyond the statements of the accused.

The notice also says that former Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan was questioned in detail.

The dollar smuggling case pertains to the action of Khalid Al Shoukri, the former head of the finance department of the UAE consulate. He had allegedly taken away 1.90 lakh US Dollars (today's rate Rs 1.30 crore) to Muscat via Thiruvananthapuram International Airport on August 7, 2019.

The case was registered based on the statements given by Swapna and Sarith during the probe into the gold smuggling case. The Customs had alleged that a portion of the money given as bribe by Unitac Builders and Developers in connection with the contract for the Life Mission flats at Vadakancherry was converted into dollars and taken abroad illicitly.

The Customs has issued show cause notices to chief minister's former principal secretary M Sivasankar, Unitac owner Santosh Eapen, Khalid Ali Shoukri, Swapna, Sarith and Sandeep.

Sivasankar's statement refuting Swapna's allegations against the chief minister and former Speaker has also been specially attached with the show cause notice.

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