Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the sensational gold-smuggling in the diplomatic bags case, was booked in another case by the police on Wednesday, June 8, based on a ruling LDF MLA's complaint alleging conspiracy behind her revelations against him, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his family in connection with the case. Police said the case has been registered under different sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot) after receiving legal advice from the Deputy Director of Prosecution. A Special Investigation Team led by a senior police official will probe the case. Senior politician and former MLA PC Geroge was named as the second accused in the FIR.
In his complaint, Left MLA and former minister KT Jaleel alleged conspiracy behind the fresh allegations levelled against him, Vijayan and his family by the key accused in the gold smuggling case. He also claimed that PC George and Swapna had conspired together before coming out with the new allegations against the Chief Minister. The claim was based on a phone call between PC George and Saritha Nair, an accused in the solar scam, which was leaked to the media. In the phone call, George is purportedly heard asking Saritha if he knew Swapna Suresh, and she replies saying she knows Swapnaâ€™s mother. Saritha is then asking if Swapna is going to â€śpublish itâ€ť, to which PC George answers that Swapna was scared to talk about â€śitâ€ť outside. It is unclear what they were referring to.
Earlier in the day, Suresh claimed a co-accused in the gold smuggling case was picked up by vigilance officials allegedly from her flat, prompting her to level a serious allegation that he was "kidnapped" by some unknown people because of her revelations against the CM, his family and some top bureaucrats.
Later, it emerged Sarith PS was picked up by the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau of the state police in connection with another case. He was released later. The entire chain of events started with Suresh in the morning, telling reporters outside her office in Palakkad that her allegations against Chief Minister Vijayan came in the wake of threats to her life and not because of any personal or political agenda.
Minutes after she concluded her press conference, she told a TV channel that her colleague Sarith, who also worked with her at HRDS India, had been kidnapped in broad daylight from her home by three or four unknown people. "Earlier you asked what the threat was. Now, it is no longer threats, the attacks have started. HRDS India staff Sarith has been forcefully kidnapped from my home by three or four unknown people. They have started their attacks. Can you imagine that? I only spoke a little, did not speak in detail and already they have become scared. This is a signal of that. They are confessing on their own through such dirty tactics," she claimed.
"Now you know the threats faced by me, my family and Sarith. People of Kerala need to realise anyone can be killed or abducted in broad daylight here," she added. Subsequently, it emerged that State Vigilance officials had picked up Sarith in connection with another case against him regarding the Life Mission project. After being released from the Vigilance custody, following a three hour long interrogation, Sarith told reporters that he was not given any prior notice or even allowed to wear slippers before he was 'forcibly' picked up and taken away by the officials. "They did not even disclose who they were when they hauled me away," he alleged.
At the vigilance office he was repeatedly asked only one question â€” on whose instructions had Suresh made the allegations, and nothing was asked regarding the Life Mission case, Sarith claimed. Sarith said he received no prior notice before he was picked up and only today (Wednesday)< he was given a notice to appear on June 16 and that his phone has been seized.
Suresh, while speaking to reporters, also questioned how Sarith could be picked up in the case without being given any prior notice and added that she was not scared of anyone. In her press conference in the morning, Suresh claimed that she only disclosed before the court, in her statement under section 164 of Criminal Procedure Code, the other people allegedly involved in the smuggling cases and their "degrees of involvement".
She said she gave the 164 statement as there were threats to her life and if something happened to her or her family members, she may not have the courage to come forward and speak about the case.
"Therefore, to be on the safe side I deposed all the statements before the court with the facts," she said and added that she has not finished what she has to say about the cases. "There is a lot more for me to say", she added.
As the Congress continued its onslaught against the government seeking CM's resignation over the issue, LDF convener E P Jayarajan told the media that there was a "well-planned conspiracy" behind the "baseless allegations" against the chief minister and the State government should investigate into the matter and find out those behind it.
After her revelations before the media, subsequent to recording her 164 statement, Vijayan had issued a statement dismissing Suresh's claims and allegations as "baseless".
Strongly reacting to the charges, the CM, in a statement, said, "Unsubstantiated allegations have been made through the media from some quarters for narrow political reasons" and this was "part of some political agenda".
"Such an agenda was rejected by the people earlier. After a break, the old things are repeated by the accused in the case. There is not even a shred of fact in it", Vijayan said.
The ruling CPI(M) continued to defend the CM, with its State secretariat issuing a statement alleging conspiracy behind the "false" allegations against Vijayan.
In her morning press conference, Suresh had also alleged that while in jail she was "tortured and mentally harassed" by the senior jail officers leading to her suffering from a heart attack, which was termed by them as a drama, and later she repeatedly suffered from fits.
She said what she has disclosed now was not meant to defame anyone or remove anyone from the post of CM nor was it a publicity stunt to create an image for herself.
"I do not believe in politics. I actually do not care who the CM is, now or then. I do not care who is going to rule the state. I also do not believe statements which claim what I said is part of a conspiracy, as I do not have any political or personal agenda....I was in jail for 16 months. My kids suffered. I lost my job. They were exploiting and manipulating me. Now, I just want to live and raise my kids. Please allow me to do that. Other than that I have no agenda," she said.
Suresh, a former employee of the UAE Consulate, was taken into custody by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) along with another accused Sandeep Nair from Bengaluru on July 11, 2020. The NIA, Enforcement Directorate (ED), and Customs conducted separate probes into the racket that was busted with the seizure of gold worth Rs 15 crore from the diplomatic baggage of the UAE Consulate at Thiruvananthapuram airport on July 5, 2020. Several people, including M Sivasankar, the former Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister and another ex-employee of the UAE Consulate here, Sarith, were arrested in connection with the case.