The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the gold smuggling done by Swapna Suresh has not found any evidence to suggest the same. While the Customs claimed that the smuggling was done at the behest of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Sources said Swapna, arrested by NIA in the gold smuggling case last October, was questioned at length.
At least in our examination, no such thing has come forth. Swapna Suresh has not made any such claim to us. However, we cannot comment on any other agency’s probe, sources said. In its charge sheet filed in January this year, the NIA also did not charge M Sivasankar, former principal secretary to the CM. Sivasankar’s name had come up in the case for his alleged links to Swapna and he was even arrested by the Enforcement Directorate.
The NIA had questioned Sivasankar in connection with the case last September. A month later, the ED arrested him for alleged money laundering. It also started a probe into several flagship government schemes which had been approved while Sivasankar was part of the CM’s office.
“The NIA investigation hitherto has revealed that the accused had knowingly conspired since June 2019, raised funds and smuggled from UAE, between November 2019 and June 2020, around 167 Kgs of gold, through the import cargo addressed to diplomats at the Consulate General of UAE in Thiruvananthapuram. Significantly, the main accused in this case had also planned to smuggle more gold from countries like Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia,” the NIA had said in the charge sheet filed against Swapna and 19 others.
The case pertains to the seizure of 30 kg gold, worth Rs 14.82 crore, on July 5, 2020, at the Air Cargo Terminal of Trivandrum International Airport by the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate, Kochi, from diplomatic baggage that had arrived from the UAE. The case later transferred to the NIA. It initially arrested Sarith PS, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair even as it made trips to the UAE to investigate the case. Till date, the agency has arrested 21 people in the case.