UAE national caught with satellite phone in 2017, CM helped him escape: Swapna Suresh

Published on Aug 08, 2022 05:46 PM IST

Interacting with media persons in Kochi, she said that on July 4, 2017, an Egypt-born UAE national was detained by CISF personnel at the Cochin airport with a Thuraya satellite phone

Kerala gold smuggling case accused Swapna Suresh speaks to media persons. (ANI File Photo)
Kerala gold smuggling case accused Swapna Suresh speaks to media persons. (ANI File Photo)

Swapna Suresh, the main accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case, on Monday alleged that chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan helped a United Arab Emirates national, who was caught with a satellite phone, to escape the law five years ago.

Interacting with media persons in Kochi, she said that on July 4, 2017, an Egypt-born UAE national was detained by CISF personnel at the Cochin airport with a Thuraya satellite phone. He was later handed over to Nedumbassery police.

Suresh alleged that the CM’s office intervened in the matter, and he was allowed to fly out of the country three days after the incident. (Most satellite phones are banned in India, barring Inmarsat-based phones that are allowed only with due permission and registration).

Also Read:NGO sacks Swapna alleging pressure from govt agencies

“The day he was arrested, I got a call from the UAE consulate in the state capital to speak with the CM’s office. I called up his secretary, M Sivasankar, and informed him about this. He called me after 10 minutes saying that an official was engaged to help his release immediately,” Suresh said.

According to Suresh, the UAE national arrived in north Kerala’s Kozhikode airport on June 30 and he spent four days in the state; he was apprehended on his way back. She alleged that the “CM had misused his power to help a foreign national whose antecedents were suspicious”.

“His antecedents were quite suspicious. He was sent back without probing his activities in the state for four days. How can the CM’s office interfere blatantly to arrange his release? These illegal activities were done so as to ensure that his daughter Veena Vijayan was able to start a business venture in the UAE,” Suresh said.

“It is natural for UAE officials to get in touch with officials in Kerala when their nationals court troubles. But how can the CM intervene in such a sensitive case? The UAE national was let off without being probed for his activities in the state. If you want to confirm this, you can check with Nedumbassery police station or CISF,” she claimed.

“Initially, the CM said he doesn’t know me at all. Later he said I came to his residence with UAE officials. Now he is silent. Ask him why he is so worried over my disclosure and slapped several cases against me,” Suresh said, adding that she will reveal more details in coming days.

She reiterated that she will not allow others to get away by making her a “mere scapegoat”, and that as a secretary to the attaché, all she did was carry out instructions from her bosses. In June, she had alleged that the CM and his family members were aware of all activities in the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.

The gold smuggling incident came to light on July 5, 2020 after the customs department seized 30 kg of gold from a consignment that came to the UAE consulate under a diplomatic tag. A multi-agency probe is currently underway and all arrested (30) are out on bail.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Ramesh Babu is HT’s bureau chief in Kerala, with about three decades of experience in journalism.

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