Thursday, July 23, 2020

Kerala HC Dismisses Petition Seeking CBI Investigation In Gold Smuggling Case

On Wednesday, a division bench of the Kerala HC comprising Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shali P Chaly dismissed a plea seeking a CBI probe into the gold smuggling case. The petition had been filed by Cherthala resident Michael Varghese through advocate Mathews Nedumpura. Mentioning that an NIA probe is already underway in the gold smuggling case, the bench observed that there was no need to intervene in the investigation.

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, suspended bureaucrat M Sivasankar and accused Swapna Suresh were named as respondents in the plea. The petition argued that the mafia behind such illegal activities shall go scot-free unless an investigation is conducted by the CBI in tandem with the Customs and the state police. It expressed apprehension that similar offences would be repeated if proper action is not taken.
On July 5, Customs officials seized 30 kg of gold worth Rs.15 crore at the Thiruvananthapuram Airport from a diplomatic cargo addressed to a person in the UAE Consulate. Sarith Kumar, who worked at the UAE Consulate was arrested in this regard. Reportedly, he told the Customs about the role of Swapna Suresh, an ex-Consulate employee now working as the manager of the Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited.

The case took a political turn after photos with Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan surfaced. It has been alleged that Suresh has links with the CM and has been seen with him at parties when she was working at the UAE Consulate. Following the backlash over her appointment, she was sacked by the state government. On July 16, Vijayan announced that the suspension of his former Principal Secretary M Sivasankar pending the departmental inquiry. The NIA registered an FIR against Sarith Kumar, Swapna Suresh, Fazil Fareed, Sandeep Nair, and others under various sections of the UAPA.
22/07/20 Akhil Oka/Republicworld
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