Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Trouble deepens for Kerala govt in gold smuggling case, call details reveal minister KT Jaleel was in touch with accused Swapna Suresh

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— Consider reading the article Trouble deepens for Kerala govt in gold smuggling case, call details reveal minister KT Jaleel was in touch with accused Swapna Suresh on OpIndia website —

New details which have emerged in the high-profile Kerala gold smuggling case may deepen the trouble for Pinarayi Vijayan led CPI(M) government in Kerala. In another stunning revelation, the phone call records of Swapna Suresh reveal that the accused was in regular touch with the Higher Education minister KT Jaleel.

Close nexus between Pinarayi Vijayan-led government and Kerala smuggling case accused

According to the Call Detail Record (CDR), KT Jaleel had made several calls to Swapna Suresh, the second accused in the well structured smuggling racket, which is being probed by the NIA and Customs. The details revelead that the minister and Suresh exchanged several calls in the month of May and June. Jaleel’s two personal staff members were also in touch with Suresh.

According to the National Investigation Agency, Swapna Suresh and his accomplice Sarith Kumar, both former employee of the consular office, were actively involved in arranging the diplomatic papers for the delivery of the consignment. Swapna Suresh is currently working as the marketing liaison officer Space Park under the Kerala State IT Infrastructure Limited (KSITIL) that comes directly under the IT department.

Swapna Suresh links with Vijayan’s principal secretary M Sivasankar had emerged

The alleged links of accused Swapna Suresh with Pinarayi Vijayan had also surfaced after it was reported that Vijayan’s principal secretary M Sivasankar was close to Swapna Suresh.

Now, the CDR has revealed that M Sivasankar was in touch with Sarith P S, the first accused in the high profile case. The two exchanged several calls, mostly lengthy ones, days before the matter came to light. Sivasankar too called both Suresh and Sarith.

Meanwhile KT Jaleel while speaking to the media, said that  he spoke to Suresh only about official matters as per the directive of the Consul-General. “I got a message from the Consul-General saying that Ramzan food kits are ready with them for distribution. He wanted me to get back if I was interested. Subsequently, I was asked to contact Suresh as per the direction from the Consul-General. The conversations were purely official,” he said, adding that he was not aware that Suresh was not a Consulate staffer any more.

However, the call details contradicted the minister’s statement as it revealed that the minister was in touch, and made several calls to the accused even after Ramzan.

Customs had earlier found that Suresh, Sarith and Sandeep Nair (another accused) frequently gathered at Sivasankar’s apartment in the state capital. The flat near the state secretariat was taken on rent by Sivasankar.

Last week, the Kerala government had removed M Sivasankar as the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister after his name surfaced in a high-profile gold smuggling case related to the UAE embassy in the capital of Kerala. He has now been replaced by IAS Mir Mohammad Ali. 

NIA revealed Kerala racket smuggled 150 kgs of gold since September 2019

Yesterday, the NIA found that the racket had managed to bring in 1.5 quintals (150 kgs) of gold in the country through diplomatic channels at Thiruvananthapuram airport since September 2019. The NIA had further disclosed that the smuggling of gold was not done for jewellery but funding terrorist activities in India.

On Monday, NIA remanded the suspects– Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, who worked for the UAE consulate, in the agency’s custody till July 21. The NIA has also found that the accused had forged UAE’s emblem to send the gold consignments.

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