In a sensational disclosure, Swapna Suresh, who is the prime accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case has revealed to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had held multiple meetings with the Consul General of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2017, reports Times of India.
According to the reports, the prime accused Swapna Suresh, in her statement to ED, said it was Vijayan who had also “unofficially” recommended the name of his then principal secretary M Shivasankar as the state government’s official point of contact with the UAE’s consulate.
Swapna Suresh has also admitted before the probing agency that the private meetings between Vijayan and the UAE diplomats were held at CM Vijayan’s official residence in Thiruvananthapuram.
Meanwhile, CM Vijayan’s office has rejected the claims made by Swapna Suresh and has called them fabricated. “We are not ready to comment on such baseless media reports. All these are well-calculated campaigns against the government,” the CM’s office said.
Earlier, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is investigating the case, had also informed the NIA Special Court in Kochi that Swapna Suresh had “good influence” in Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s office.
Chief Minister Vijayan knew about Swapna’s induction at Space Park
The Enforcement Directorate has also now revealed that the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was aware of Swapna Suresh’s appointment under the Information Technology (IT) department.
The new details submitted to the court by the ED points directly links CM Pinarayi Vijayan and his office with gold scam accused Swapna Suresh. It is pertinent to note that Pinarayi Vijayan has time-and-again denied knowing Swapna Suresh.
Earlier, during her questioning on how she was selected for Kerala IT department’s SpacePark project, Swapna had reportedly revealed to ED saying that she knew Shivasankar very closely and also knew Chief Minister during her tenure as a secretary to the consul general.
“I believe that I am trustworthy and reliable and that may be the reason I have been recommended to PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) and subsequently nominated to the SpacePark project. My appointment in SpacePark was with the knowledge of the CM,” Swapna Suresh had said.
The charge sheet filed by the ED in the court also pointed out that M Shivshankar, the then IT secretary was involved in various financial transactions of Swapna Suresh. He was also aware of the bank locker that Swapna started to transfer the money during various occasions.
In its charge sheet, the ED said, “Swapna stated that she met Shivasankar around eight times officially but met him many times unofficially; that she met Shivasankar in the presence of the CM of Kerala.”
Kerala Gold Smuggling case: Swapna Suresh’s link with Kerala minister
The Custom officials in Kerala had nabbed a former employee of the UAE Consulate in Kerala named Sarith where he had divulged that Swapna Suresh, also a former staffer, had forged documents to misuse diplomatic privileges, to illegally smuggle gold from UAE.
On July 5, Suresh’s baggage, marked with the address of the UAE Consulate was held at the airport. Swapna Suresh was working as the marketing liaison officer Space Park under the Kerala State IT Infrastructure Limited (KSITIL) that comes directly under the IT department.
Last month, the call details of main accused 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.