Kerala HC defers bail plea of gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh to Tuesday
Protests by the opposition parties seeking the resignation of the chief minister turned violent at several places. In Kozhikode in north Kerala, many people were hurt after police resorted to baton charge on agitating Youth League workers.Updated: Jul 10, 2020 14:57 IST
The Kerala High Court on Friday deferred the bail application of Swapna Suresh, the main accused in the Thiruvanathapuram airport gold smuggling case, to Tuesday after her lawyer said he is yet to get a copy of the first information report filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
Though the plea was deferred the high court did not stay her arrest. The NIA opposed her bail plea saying the smuggling incident involves international ramifications and the accused enjoyed a good rapport with influential people. She had moved the Kerala High Court for bail on Thursday.
The Union Home Ministry had handed over the probe to the NIA on Thursday. This is the first time the agency is investigating a smuggling case.
The Customs Department had seized 30 kgs of gold from an air cargo consignment from the United Arab Emirates to the country’s consulate in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday. Suresh, who was working as the operational manager of the Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited under the state IT Ministry, had gone underground after the seizure. Later, the CM had transferred his principal secretary M Sivasankar who was close to Suresh.
The issue took on political colour after the Opposition Congress and BJP claimed that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan knew about his principal secretary Sivasankar’s alleged link with the prime accused. As the issue flared up, more skeletons started tumbling out of the cupboard of the accused.
The Maharashtra -based university, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Technological University, from where she reportedly obtained her B.Com degree made it clear that the varsity did not have a B.Com course and her degree was fake. Later, the controller of the examination Dr Vivek S Sathe sent a mail to a news channel saying it was a fake certificate. She was given a job at Air India-SATS and the Kerala IT department based on this degree. Two days back, her estranged brother also claimed she did not even clear her class 10 examination.
Protests by the opposition parties seeking the resignation of the chief minister turned violent at several places. In Kozhikode in north Kerala, many people were hurt after police resorted to baton charge on agitating Youth League workers. In Kochi too, Yuva Morcha protests turned violent. In Kannur, police lobbed teargas shells to control Youth Congress workers who held a rally outside Vijayan’s ancestral house.
Despite the CPI(M) and coalition rallying around the CM, many party insiders say the latest incident has dented the image of the government when the elections are just 10 months away. Some of the allies of the ruling dispensation have started airing their displeasure against the way Vijayan protected former principal secretary M Sivasankar. Junior partner the CPI said it had warned him about the “freestyle” of his secretary several times but the CM had ignored them.