Kerala gold smuggling case: CMO releases video to counter accused Swapna Suresh’s claims
The smuggling case came to light in July 2020 after 30 kgs of gold, hidden in a package camouflaged as a diplomatic consignment addressed to the UAE consulate in Kerala, was seized by the customs department
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Amid claims by Swapna Suresh, accused in a gold smuggling case, about her close contacts with Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his family members, the CM’s office on Wednesday released a two-year-old video of a press meet in which he was seen saying Suresh visited his official residence several times along with the then UAE Consulate General for official purposes.
The short video, released by Vijayan’s office on social media, has two sections – Suresh’s threat on Tuesday to expose Vijayan’s “lie” that he did not know her, and the CM’s old statement saying that he knew her only as a consulate staff.
In the press meet, Vijayan made the remarks as a response to a question on 13 October 2020 when the gold smuggling case came up, and his then principal secretary M Sivasankar being arrested by the Enforcement Directorate.
In the video clip, a journalist can be heard asking Vijayan whether Suresh had visited Cliff House, the CM’s official residence in Thiruvananthapuram, several times, to which Vijayan allegedly responded by saying that she came several times along with the Consulate General for various official purposes.
“Whenever the Consulate General had made a visit to the Cliff House, she accompanied him as his secretary. There’s nothing unnatural for a chief minister to meet a Consulate General,” he apparently said in the video.
When the reporter asked whether Vijayan introduced Sivasankar as the point of contact for matters related to the consulate, the CM said he did not remember that, but there was nothing unusual about it even if he said so.
His office released the old video a day after Suresh told the media that the CM allegedly said when she was in jail that he did not know the “controversial woman”. She said he “lied”, and that she had met him and his family members several times at Cliff House. “He might have forgotten all these things. But I will remind him about those sessions with him and family members through the media as and when necessary,” she told reporters in Kochi on Tuesday.
The state is in the midst of a series of protests by opposition parties who have demanded Vijayan’s resignation over the case.
The smuggling case came to light in July 2020 after 30 kgs of gold, hidden in a package camouflaged as a diplomatic consignment addressed to the UAE consulate in Kerala, was seized by the customs department.