Kerala gold smuggling case: Swapna Suresh writes to PM, seeks CBI probe into ‘govt involvement’

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Kerala gold smuggling scandal accused Swapna Suresh on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking a CBI probe into “the involvement of Kerala Government” in the scam.

The case, which pertains to the smuggling of gold through diplomatic cargo to the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, first emerged in 2020. The issue resurfaced last month, after Suresh, a former employee with the consulate, alleged that Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, his family members and a few others were involved in the case. Suresh’s allegation that Vijayan took a bag full of currency to the UAE in 2016 – a charge denied by the chief minister– had sparked large-scale protests by the Opposition in Kerala.

In her letter to Prime Minister Modi, Suresh, who is now employed as director (women Empowerment and CSR) with Palakkad-based NGO Highrange Rural Development Society (HRDS India), said the state government was involved in “such a swindle” and used her as “a scapegoat for their benefit”.

“I would like to bring forth to your kind notice that the person who actually committed this heinous smuggling is in fact an IAS officer Shivashankar (principal secretary of the chief minister of Kerala). Due to the higher rank of the officials, few employees like me had to withstand the worst of this scam. I was simply obeying the orders of my line managers and doing this through the UAE consulate diplomatic channel and had no say in the matters,” her letter reads.

Swapna Suresh alleged that chief minister Vijayan’s family members were also “directly involved” in this scam. “We can’t compare such a scam with any other scams executed in India like Bofors, Vedanta, Lavalin or 2G Spectrum. The gravity of the scam is more powerful than them. It has jointly executed with other country’s consulate against India. CBI investigation is mandatory to find out the truth,” Suresh said in her letter.

She said that when the issue was brought out by the Customs, she along with other alleged accused were lodged in jail under judicial custody for 15 months “for not disclosing anything”. M Shivashankar, who was in jail for 3 months, was “favoured” by the government to get bail, Suresh alleged.

Demanding a CBI probe, Suresh said the Customs and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that investigated the gold smuggling case were trying “to manipulate and divert the direction” of the probe. “With the influence of the principal secretary (Shivashankar), the state government has constituted a judicial commission against the ED (Enforcement Directorate) and Custom (sic). Fortunately, ED is doing its duty perfectly now. In my knowledge, NIA has no role in these kinds of cases,” Suresh said in the letter.

In the letter, written on official stationery of her employer HRDS India, Suresh further said that after she submitted a statement under Section 164 of the Indian Penal Code before a court, the state government was harassing her, her relatives, her advocate and the organisation where she works now.

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