Kochi: The latest developments in the gold smuggling case are likely to shock the political field of poll-bound Kerala.
The Customs department chief on Friday informed in an affidavit to Kerala High Court and made some startling claims about the involvement of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in illegal monetary transactions.
The customs department said, “It is submitted that in the 108 statement and 164 statements, the 1st respondent (Swapna) has made shocking revelations about the chief minister, speaker of Kerala legislative assembly, and some ministers of the state cabinet."
Customs Commissioner Sumit Kumar has said that the key accused - Swapna Suresh has revealed the close connection between the chief minister and the previous Consul General of UAE along with the illegal monetary transactions carried out by the two.
Also, statements were made against Kerala Assembly Speaker P Sreerama Krishnan and other ministers of the state cabinet.
The statement said that Swapna Suresh claimed the involvement and the kickbacks received by high-profile persons from various deals.
The Customs commissioner told the court that Swapna Suresh has also admitted that she knows about instances where foreign currency was smuggled on the directions of the CM and the speaker.
The investigating officer told the court that the prime accused, Swapna Suresh, has confessed that she was a witness to all these transactions because she was forced to act as the translator between the above-said persons and persons of Middle East origin in all their crucial interactions due to her fluency in the Arabic language.
The Kerala gold smuggling case pertains to the smuggling of over 167 kgs of gold through the import cargo addressed to diplomats at the Consulate General of UAE in Thiruvananthapuram between November 2019 and June 2020.
The case had emerged in July 2020, after customs officials had seized gold weighing 30 kg valued at Rs 15 crore concealed in diplomatic baggage in an imported plumbing material. The cargo was addressed to the Consular General of the United Arab Emirates in Thiruvananthapuram district.
Officials Swapna Suresh had worked at the consulate general's office along with another key accused, Sarith PS until seven months ago. Subsequently, the Customs arrested around 15 people, including Swapna Suresh.
The National Investigation Agency, the Enforcement Directorate, and the Customs are conducting separate probes into the racket.
Several high-profile personalities, including CM Pinarayi Vijayan's principal secretary Sivasankar, are under the Customs scanner for their alleged connection to the case.