Kerala government is embroiled in a high-profile gold smuggling scandal worth crore. The role of Principal Secretary of Kerala Chief Minister is under the scanner, and allegations have been leveled against a sitting state minister.
Links of the prime accused has been established with D-company and ISI. In the preliminary investigation, NIA established links of smuggling with anti-national and terrorism-related activities. She also has a close link with the Principal Secretary of State Chief minister and used to visit the CMO Office and residence a couple of times.
Opposition parties in Kerala to hit out at the ruling LDF and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. While the BJP has demanded Vijayan’s resignation. Union Minister Murlidharan expressed his deep concern and demanded stern action against criminal and government machinery involved in facilitation and shielding the accused by destroying evidence.
In the press conference held at BJP Head Quarter Union Minister pointed out the latest developments and investigation done by central agencies so far. Moreover above CCTV footage is also lost.
On 5th July 2020 30 kgs of gold of 24 carats seized at Thiruvananthapuram Airport. The value of Gold is in the international market is 14.82 crores INR. Moreover, the bag in which gold is found is diplomatic from Dubai and is supposed to be delivered to UAE Consulate at Thiruvananthapuram.
Actually, the bag was detained on 30th June 2020 and comes under diplomatic immunity, opening without following procedure was not possible. Moreover, this pressure from the consulate to release the baggage. In presence of Sr. Officer from the High Commissioners office and consulate whose name on baggage was opened.
As the matter is sensitive which might involve finance and criminal conspiracy three agencies Customs, Enforcement, and National Investigation agencies are investigating the matter. FIR has been registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against the 4 accused viz. Sarith P.S., Swapna Prabha Suresh aka Swapna Mohammed, Fazil Fareed, and Sandeep Nair.
Swapna Prabha Suresh the ex-employee of the UAE Consulate is the kingpin and was appointed by the state government for Space Park Project under Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited. Swapna Prabha is also involved in the Life Mission housing project of the state government. She had taken a commission from the contractor. An internal investigation is going on.
NIA seized many incriminating documents. She has a close link with Principal Secretary of Chief minister M. Sivashankar and used to visit the CMO office and residence a couple of times. Though she had fake documents for qualification Sivashankar recommended her for the post of Business Development Manager.
After confirmation of allegations, Sivashankar has been suspended and removed from the post of Principal Secretary to Chief Minister. National Investigation Agency and Enforcement Department are also cross-questioning with K.T Jaleel Minister in Kerala Government and son of Kodiyeri Balakrishnan CPIM State General Secretary Bineesh Kodiyeri for establishing links.
Investigation so far has revealed that Swapna Suresh had contacts with powerful people in Kerala and made several calls to them in the run-up to the current case of gold smuggling.