Shaj warned me against dragging the CM's daughter into the controversy: Swapna Suresh during release of audio clip

Swapna Suresh speaks to the media in Palakkad. Photo: MMTV/Sreengrab
Swapna Suresh speaks to the media in Palakkad. Photo: MMTV/Sreengrab

Palakkad: Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the diplomatic gold smuggling case, met the press on Friday during the release of an audio clip of her conversation with Shaj Kiran, who is purportedly an emissary of the Chief Minister.

'Shaj Kiran asked me whether I knew who I was playing with? He will never be able to bear it if you drag his daughter's name into this,' Swapna said while quoting Shaj Kiran during a press conference at HRDS office in Palakkad. Swapna is an employee at HRDS.

The gold smuggling accused added that Shaj was a long term acquaintance of hers. 

"Shaj was first introduced to me by M Sivansankar. I also met him after giving the secret statement in court. He insisted on meeting me after this," she said.

"He came to meet me with a person named Ibrahim. Shaj spoke the entire duration of the conversation. Ibrahim said little. Shaj had warned in advance that Sarith would be picked up te next day and realeased later. I called Shaj soon after Sarith was taken due to this warning."

Swapna also added that Shaj Kiran threatened to release her sleaze videos if she did not pay heed to his warning.

Since the released clip forms just the last one-and-a-half hour section of a long five-hour conversation Swapna had with Shaj Kiran, it is not easy to decode the motives of Shaj. He talks like a close friend of Swapna and his tone does not suggest threatening behaviour as alleged by Swapna. Shaj even seems to hint that he, too, has been trapped by Swapna's latest revelations. He sounded desperate and, at one point, says they would face this together come what may.

It is in between all this that Shaj asks Swapna to withdraw her 164 statement against the Chief Minister his family and others. It is also suggested that the solutions he was putting forward were actually mooted by top police officers.

It also sounds as if Shaj wants to paint him as highly influential. Once he says that he is more than what she thinks.

Nonetheless, his most damning statement was his claim about the foreign investments of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. He said their funds were routed to America, through Believer's Church. He even hinted that Pinarayi's and Kodiyeri's funds had something to do with the Believer's Church losing its registration under the Foreign Currency Regulation Act.

Police intensifies security outside Swapna's residence

Meanwhile, the Kerala Police on Friday intensified the security around the residence of gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh.

Shaj Kiran talking to media in Kochi on June 9, 2022. PHOTO: Manorama News

The police have arranged guards outside Swapna's flat round-the-clock.

Swapna had complained that her life was under threat after the recent allegations levelled by her against the Chief Minister, his family and others. She had submitted a petition to this effect in court.

The police protection was increased following this.

The allegation

Swapna Suresh has alleged that the CM's messenger Shaj Kiran persuaded her to withdraw her secret statement from court.

"Once you listen to the audio clip, you can decide for yourself," Swapna told reporters on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Shaj Kiran refuted all charges against him after Swapna's charges on Thursday.

Swapna said it was true that Shaj "was and is a good friend of mine." She also admitted that it was she who called Shaj after Sarith went missing on June 8.

"We had no personal differences till a day ago. And it was he who told us that Sarith would be picked up, and it happened. But he had been torturing me mentally since afternoon (of June 8), forcing me to withdraw the 164 statement," Swapna said.

She said Shaj referred to the Chief Minister as "the number one". She said that while Shaj was with her, ADGP (Vigilance) M R Ajith Kumar and ADGP (Law and Order), Vijay Sakhare, kept calling him alternately on his WhatsApp. Together, they had called him 56 times, she said.

The secret statement

Triggering a political turmoil in the state, Swapna Suresh on Tuesday claimed that she disclosed before the court -- in her statement under Section 164 of Criminal Procedure Code -- the other people allegedly involved in the smuggling cases and their "degrees of involvement."

She said she had given statements against the CM, his wife, daughter, KT Jaleel and some other top bureaucrats.

After her revelations before the media, subsequent to recording her Section 164 statement, Vijayan had issued a statement dismissing Suresh's claims and allegations as "baseless".

Suresh, a former employee of the UAE Consulate here, was taken into custody by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) along with another accused Sandeep Nair from Bengaluru on July 11, 2020.

The NIA, Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Customs conducted separate probes into the racket that was busted with the seizure of gold worth Rs 15 crore from the diplomatic baggage of the UAE Consulate at Thiruvananthapuram airport on July 5, 2020.

Several people, including M Sivasankar, the former Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister and another ex-employee of the UAE Consulate, Sarith, were arrested in connection with the case.  

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.