The Enforcement Directorate (ED) received a jolt on Wednesday as the Kerala High Court permitted the state Crime Branch to go ahead with its probe against the Central financial crime investigation agency. The ruling was based on the petition filed by the ED, challenging the case registered against it by the Kerala Crime Branch. On March 19, the Crime Branch had registered a case against the ED, based on the complaint of two female police officials, who alleged that the investigation agency forced Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the gold smuggling case, to testify against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
The ED had sought a stay against the Crime Branch's move. The court, however, refused to grant a stay. However, it directed the Crime Branch to not record any arrest or take strong action against any ED officials until the further hearing on April 8, when the l orders are expected to be passed. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared for the ED
It was after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan gave the green signal that the Crime Branch registered the case against the ED. According to the two police officials, who were providing security to Swapna during her judicial custody, they heard the ED allegedly pressing her to name Pinarayi Vijayan.
The State Crime Branch filed a case against the ED alleging that the latter created false evidence against the CM in the gold smuggling. According to the first information report (FIR), the ED sleuths forced Swapna Suresh to submit a false statement about the CMâ€™s involvement in the case.
The Kerala government, too, had recently ordered a judicial probe against the investigation agencies, including the ED, for trying to derail the investigation on the gold smuggling and dollar smuggling cases. Several Union Ministers, including Home Minister Amit Shah, had come down heavily against this move by the Kerala government.
However, making it an election issue, Pinarayi Vijayan said he will not be cowed down by threats and these are undesirable acts by the central agencies to discredit and malign his government in the run-up to the Kerala Assembly polls on April 6.