Central agencies to look into Swapna's revelations against CM, family members

Swapna Suresh
On Tuesday, Swapna disclosed that CM Pinarayi Vijayan was involved in the scam. Photo: Josekutty Panackal

Thiruvananthapuram: The central investigating agencies are planning to probe further into the latest disclosures of Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the diplomatic baggage gold smuggling case, against Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

As of now, only the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Customs have submitted reports after holding separate inquiries. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is still continuing with the probe.

The ED would intensify its probe since Swapna made it clear that what she stated was not mere allegations but detailed facts which were given as a secret statement to the court.

Once the ED gets the copy of the secret statement, it will again record Swapna's statement. Only later, a decision on whether to include the chief minister and his family members under the purview of the probe will be taken.

On Tuesday, Swapna disclosed that CM Pinarayi Vijayan was involved in the scam. She told media that a baggage containing currency was sent to CM Vijayan when he was in Dubai in 2016. She also said in her secret statement recorded before a Judicial First-Class Magistrate Court she has stated about the involvement of the CM, wife Kamala, daughter Veena, his former principal secretary M Sivasankar, additional private secretary C M Raveendran, former bureaucrat Nalini Netto and former minister K T Jaleel. The confidential statement has been recorded under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Earlier, the statement given by first accused Sarith also contained a reference to the forgotten bag. Now that Swapna has revealed the same thing, a detailed investigation in the matter will be undertaken.

Though the Customs had earlier given a report after completing the inquiry, it would elicit more information from Swapna in the backdrop of her latest revelations.

Earlier, the Preventive wing of the Customs could not find any evidence against the Chief Minister and former Speaker of the Assembly P Sreeramakrishnan over the allegation made by the accused about smuggling of foreign currency.

The Customs would also try to get more clarity from Swapna on her allegation that precious metals were concealed in the biriyani cauldron sent from the Thiruvananthapuram Consulate of the United Arab Emirates to the Cliff House, the official residence of the Kerala Chief Minister.

It was in mid-2020 that the Customs busted a smuggling racket linked to the consulate. The probe revealed that consular staff were hand in glove with gold smugglers in Kerala and the Middle East. They used the diplomatic baggage to carry out smuggling. Money laundering also was likely attempted by the well-entrenched syndicate that enjoyed political patronage.

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