Kerala gold smuggling case: BJP, Congress question how Swapna Suresh, other accused managed to cross state’s border
The police, meanwhile, said they will investigate how Suresh and Nair escaped amid triple lockdown and travelled more than 800 kilometre.Updated: Jul 12, 2020 12:31 IST
After two key accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case were detained, the Pinarayi Vijayan government is facing the heat over how the duo managed to exit the state particularly when a triple lockdown has been in place here since last Sunday.
Swapna Suresh and the other key accused Sandeep Nair were detained by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Bengaluru on Saturday.
The Congress and BJP upped their ante saying top police officials helped them to slip out of the state. “In certain areas in Thiruvananthapuram you need a pass to buy even a packet of milk. And in all inter-state checkposts you need an entry pass. It is certain high-ranking officials had escorted them,” said president of the BJP’s Kerala unit K Surendran. He added that it was another blot on the state government.
The Congress has also sought a high-level probe. “Almost a week has passed since the case came up. Not a single FIR was filed against Swapna Suresh though many cheating incidents against her surfaced including fake degree certificate. Her escape adds to the mystery,” said Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala.
The police, meanwhile, said they will investigate how Suresh and Nair escaped amid triple lockdown and travelled more than 800 kilometre. Suresh is set to be produced at the NIA office in Kochi on Sunday.
The scam came to light after the Customs department seized 30 kg of gold from an air cargo consignment from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the country’s consulate in Thiruvananthapuram last Sunday. Suresh, who was working as an IT consultant under the state IT Ministry, had gone underground after the seizure.
Later, chief minister Vijayan had transferred his principal secretary M Sivasankar who was reported to be close to Suresh. The Union home ministry had later handed over the probe to the NIA which arrested the accused from a hotel in Bengaluru.
Who is Swapna Suresh?
The life of Suresh (42) is shrouded in mystery. She is believed to be close to many high-ranking officials and politicians. An Inspector General (IG) of Police had made a complaint to Kerala police chief Loknath Behra to order an inquiry against Suresh.
She was employed in Space Park and Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited (KSITL), which comes under the state IT department. Suresh has earlier worked with Air India-SATS (a joint venture between Air India and SATS Limited for airport service and ground handling operations).