The Kerala gold smuggling case has wreaked havoc on the incumbent Kerala State government. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) investigating the case has now informed the NIA Special Court in Kochi that Swapna Suresh, a prime accused in the case, had “good influence” in Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s office. Assistant Solicitor General (ASG) Vijayakumar, who was appearing for NIA made the sensational disclosure while opposing Swapna’s bail plea at the NIA special court in Ernakulam Thursday.
ASG Vijayakumar informed the court that Swapna Suresh had established links with chief minister’s office (CMO) through Pinarayi’s now suspended principal secretary, M Sivasankar, with whom she enjoyed close proximity.
Vijayan’s principal secretary M Sivasankar suspended after his name surfaced in the Kerala gold smuggling case
It is pertinent to note here that, the Kerala government had removed M Sivasankar as the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister after his name surfaced in a high-profile gold smuggling case related to the UAE embassy in the capital of Kerala. He has now been replaced by IAS Mir Mohammad Ali.
NIA court was informed that M Sivasankar had gone out of the way to appoint Swapna in the Kerala government’s Space Park and he used to advise her on many issues.
The NIA said that because of this close link with the CMO, even after Swapna had quit her job in the consulate, she actively intervened and influenced almost all matters related to the consulate.
The NIA informed the court that it has invoked the stringent provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) against the accused in this case as the money funneled through the gold smuggling scandal is likely to have been used or financing terror activities in India.
Link of accused Swapna Suresh with Kerala’s Higher Education minister KT Jaleel had surfaced
Last month the call details of Swapna Suresh had revealed that the accused was in regular touch with Kerala’s Higher Education minister KT Jaleel. According to the Call Detail Record (CDR), KT Jaleel had made several calls to Swapna Suresh. The details revealed that the minister and Suresh exchanged several calls in the month of May and June. Jaleel’s two personal staff members were also reportedly in touch with Suresh.
₹1 Crore in cash and nearly 1 kg gold recovered from the lockers of accused Swapna Suresh
It was earlier reported how NIA had recovered ₹1 crore in cash and almost ₹1 kg of gold from Swapna Suresh. In its remand report filed before an NIA Court, the agency had informed that the smuggled gold was kept in lockers and invested as deposits in several banks.
Investigations were also being conducted to ascertain whether the proceeds from the gold smuggling case were used to fund protests against the humanitarian Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019.