Kochi (Kerala) [India], October 11 (ANI): Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case told the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the UAE consul general, Thiruvananthapuram had held a closed-door meeting at the chief minister's residence in 2017 and revealed that he knew about her appointment in the Space Park project under the Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Ltd (KSITIL).
She told the ED, which is probing the smuggling case, that the Chief Minister had "unofficially" informed that Sivasankar, (former principal secretary of the Kerala CMO) would be "point of contact" between the Kerala government and the UAE Consulate.
"My appointment in Space Park was with the knowledge of the CM. Sivasankar sir (former principal secretary of the Kerala CMO) told me about the Space Park project. I am known to Sivasankar Sir very closely and I am also known to CM from the time when I was secretary to the Consul General," She said in a statement to the ED.
"I met him (Sivasankar) when I joined the Consulate as part of interactions between UAE Consulate and the Government of Kerala as he is the point of contact for UAE Consulate. In the year 2017, during one of the private meetings between Consul General of UAE Consulate, Trivandrum and the CM at the residence of Chief Minister of Kerala, CM had unofficially informed that Sivasankar, IAS would be the point of contact between Government of Kerala and UAE Consulate," it said.
Swapna stated that she along with other three accused smuggled "21 consignments of gold" together.
"Thereafter, for all matters related to UAE Consulate, Sivasankar sir used to call me as I being the secretary to the Consul General. Similarly, I used to contact him for all the official matters related to UAE Consulate and thereby we developed our relation. Then she revealed that she and other 3 accused smuggled 21 consignments of gold together," she said.
"My part was to help facilitate the smuggling by assuring that the consulate had knowledge of gold smuggling using diplomatic cargo. Sarith, Sandeep, Ramees and I did the smuggling together," she said.
A Principal Sessions court in Kochi is slated to pronounce its order on the bail plea on October 13.
The Kerala gold smuggling case, which is being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Enforcement Directorate, and the Customs department, pertains to the smuggling of gold in the state through diplomatic channels.
The matter had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crores smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage was busted by the Customs in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5. (ANI)