Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had on Wednesday written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his "intervention for an effective investigation" in the case.

Central agencies seek help from Kerala police to track Swapna in gold smuggling case
news Gold smuggling case Thursday, July 09, 2020 - 17:15

Central agencies have sought the assistance of Kerala police in tracking the whereabouts of Swapna, a former employee of a foreign country's consulate in the state, wanted in connection with the sensational gold smuggling case.

This comes a day after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his "intervention for an effective investigation" into the seizure of gold worth crores of rupees from a "diplomatic baggage" at the Thiruvananthapuram international airport on July 5.

Sources privy to the development told PTI that central agencies have "written" to the state police, seeking its "technical assistance" in tracking down two absconding persons — "a woman and her friend" — who are wanted in connection with the case. The CM, in his letter to PM Modi had assured to extend all necessary assistance.

Swapna Suresh, a former employee of the United Arab Emirates Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, has been absconding since Monday. She was removed as the contract staff of Price Waterhouse Coopers Ltd (PWC), a private company, which was handling the Space Park Project under the Kerala government’s Information Technology Department.

The absconding “friend” here is believed to be Sandeep Nair, who was named by Sarith PS, the main accused in the case. Sandeep’s wife, Soumya, was earlier interrogated by the customs officials.

Meanwhile, the absconding woman, who is suspected to be involved in the case, moved the Kerala High Court seeking anticipatory bail. She filed the anticipatory bail application online on Wednesday night.

Read: Swapna Suresh applies for bail, says UAE consular officer told her to enquire about bag

The gold, weighing over 30kg, was seized from a "diplomatic baggage", which was addressed to Rashed Khasmi Ali Musaiqri Al Ashmia, the acting Consul General of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.

The Customs department has said it suspected a smuggling syndicate had misused the name of a person who enjoys diplomatic immunity.

Kerala BJP state president K Surendran on Thursday slammed the Kerala Police for not handing over certain CCTV footage to the Customs Department even after the latter’s demand. He had alleged that the CCTV footage of the warehouse or air cargo complex was not given even 48 hours after the Customs authorities asked for the same.

Responding to BJP’s statement, Kerala police chief Loknath Behra in a statement said that the state police has not received any application from the Customs Department with this request.

The case has become a huge political controversy in the state with the Opposition parties, including the Congress and BJP, alleging connection of accused persons in the case with top officials associated with the government and the Kerala Chief Minister’s office. M Sivasankar, who was the Principal Secretary of CM Pinarayi Vijayan and also the IT Secretary, was ousted from the post following allegations of his connections with Swapna Suresh.

(With inputs from PTI)

Read: Was UAE Consulate officer right in using Sarith for ‘odd jobs’: Former diplomats weigh in

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