Calling the media publication of her alleged statements to the Customs a criminal contempt of court, Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case, filed a petition at a court in Ernakulam asking fortake stringent action against the officers responsible for the 'leakage' and the media that aired or published it. The petition was submitted at the Court of the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate in Ernakulam.
Swapna who was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on July 11 has been in judicial custody since. The Customs which sought her custody went on to record her statements, but Swapna says they had not been given voluntarily. "The content of the so called statements are the fanciful imaginations of the respondent, which is far away from truth. The alleged statement of the petitioner running to more than 30 pages were created while she was under tremendous stress and in a depressive mood after about 16 days of police custody. She was subjected to sustained interrogation by NIA and Customs," says the petition.
The petition claims that the 'so called statements' were not read over to Swapna, neither was a copy of it given to her. She was further questioned by officials of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and again by the NIA. Swapna's petition alleges that during such interrogations, the statements provided by the Customs were used. They were also relying on certain statements allegedly given by the co-accused, the petition says.
"The petitioner has a specific case that she was mercilessly tortured and harassed mentally and emotionally by various central agencies on cooked up allegations to satisfy their political big bosses in Delhi,” reads the petition.
Swapna had then filed an application to get a copy of the statements but this was dismissed by the court on August 17, since the copies were 'confidential in nature'. It has the nature of a case diary and the accused or her agents shall not be entitled to see them, the court had said, says the petition.
However it was these statements, kept in a sealed cover by the court, which were then widely published in print and visual media, alleges the petition.
"In that event, the source from where the media got this confidential information accrues importance. It is understood that some officers attached to the respondent had leaked the so called statement to the press and published / aired it."
The petition further points out that leaking or publishing the alleged 108 statements of the petitioner and other accused is against the guidelines of the apex court and other high courts, citing the case of Murukeshan Vs State of Kerala and others 2011(1) KLT 194. The more recent judgment of the Jollyamma Joseph Vs State of Kerala is also cited.