Swapna got more salary than Chief Secretary for Space Park job; ED to make more arrests soon

The ED sleuths are now investigating how she got the appointment in violation of norms and by submission of fake documents. Photo: Manorama

Kochi: Swapna Suresh, the main accused in the sensational Gold Smuggling case, received more salary than the Chief Secretary during her appointment to the State Government venture Space Park, the probe by Enforcement Directorate (ED) has revealed.

The ED sleuths are now investigating how she got the appointment in violation of norms and by submission of fake documents. The agency has recorded the statement of Space Park Special Officer Santosh Kurup in light of the statements given by former Life Mission CEO U V Jose in connection with the black money case related to the Vadakancherry Life Mission scam.

The ED’s assessment is that M Sivasankar, former principal secretary to the chief minister, ensured Swapna’s appointment to the plum post in Space Park through ‘Reverse Reference’ shortcut ploy to seat those favoured by state governments in key posts.

For this, Sivasankar successfully exerted his influence over Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), the consultancy firm of the State Government, the ED found. The agency started recording the statements of PwC representatives.

It was the PwC that appointed Swapna Suresh to the Space Park, functioning under the Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Ltd (KSITIL).

The State Government had to dole out a whooping Rs 3.80 lakh per month to PwC for the appointment of Swapna. The ED has collected photocopies of certain e-mail messages sent by Space Park Special Officer Santosh Kurup and PwC Associate Director C Pratap Mohan Nair in this regard.

The ED could make some vital arrests in the coming days if the Space Park and PwC representatives would be willing to make revelations backing the statements given by U V Jose and hand over the evidence to the agency, sources said.

The ED probe has found Sivasankar misused the name of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan many times in his effort to place Swapna in the key Space Park post, where officials can directly communicate with institutions like ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization). The agency managed to collect from Swapna’s phone the messages sent by Sivasankar that throws light on the matter.

The ED will again summon C M Raveendran, Additional Private secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, upon completing the questioning of Santosh Eapen, the main accused in the Life Mission bribery case, sources said, adding the chances of making U V Jose, who is cooperating with the investigation, an approver in the case seems bright at the moment.

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