NGO sacks Swapna alleging pressure from govt agencies

Updated on Jul 07, 2022 12:30 AM IST

The NGO had employed Swapna from February this year as the director of women empowerment programme and later she was shifted to Palakkad from the state capital.

A Palakkad-based NGO High Range Rural Development Society (HRDS) on Wednesday terminated the service of gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh alleging pressure from government agencies. (ANI)
A Palakkad-based NGO High Range Rural Development Society (HRDS) on Wednesday terminated the service of gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh alleging pressure from government agencies. (ANI)
By, Thiruvananthapuram

A Palakkad-based NGO High Range Rural Development Society (HRDS) on Wednesday terminated the service of gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh alleging pressure from government agencies.

The NGO had employed Swapna from February this year as the director of women empowerment programme and later she was shifted to Palakkad from the state capital. The HRDS said it was forced to discontinue her service due to continued pressure from government agencies. Meanwhile, Swapna said her termination was expected as HRDS officials were under tremendous pressure to boot her out. “This was expected. I will continue my struggle. I stand with whatever I have said,” she said in Kochi.

Of late, the HRDS office in Palakkad was the main venue of her recurring interaction with the media. Last week, Kerala chief minister (CM) Pinarayi Vijayan had told the assembly that an NGO backed by Sangh Parivar outfits was protecting her and footing all her expenses in lieu of Suresh’s tirade against the government.

“Officials have been visiting the HRDS office quite often and questioning the employees, even cleaning workers were not spared. Our work started getting affected so we had no other option,” HRDS vice-president Joy Mathew said.Mathew said ever since she was employed, HRDS was being hounded by officials from police department, revenue, vigilance and other agencies and often the employees are subjected to interrogation.

The HRDS was quite unhappy with the way she used the company letter head to send a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding a central agency probe into her allegations against the CM, said another official, wishing not to be named.

After recording her confidential statement under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) last month she raised serious allegations against Vijayan and his family members. She had alleged that they were aware of smuggling and money-laundering through the UAE consulate in the state capital. Police later slapped a conspiracy case against her and constituted a special investigation team.

The gold smuggling case surfaced in July 5, 2020 when the customs seized 30kg gold hidden in bathroom fittings in one of the consignments, camouflaged as diplomatic baggage, which had come to the UAE consulate in state capital. A former employee of the consulate P S Sarith who came to receive the consignment was arrested the same day and a week after, NIA arrested Swapna Suresh and her accomplice Sandeep Nair from Bengaluru.Three months after this, CM’s former principal secretary M Sivasankar was also arrested. He was reinstated in January after a 17-month suspension.

Swapna’s latest contention is that though all knew about “murky deals and accepted largesse from them” whole blame was put on her and she was made a scapegoat. She has also complained of threat to her life several times.

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