Kerala gold smuggling: ED rejects Swapnas' claims

Kerala gold smuggling: ED rejects Swapnas claims

Thiruvananthapuram/New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate rejected the claims of coercion made in an audio clip purportedly by Kerala gold smuggling case "prime accused" Swapna Suresh, and official sources said on Friday that the agency was digging deeper into the money laundering trail that involves a number of people.

The central probe agency has also written to the Kerala Prisons Department seeking a probe into how the clip was recorded and circulated in violation of guidelines meant for the accused in jail.

The sources said if the clip is true, it is a "serious breach" of legal procedures and aims at jeopardising the probe in a high-profile criminal case which has international ramifications. An online news portal is stated to have released a voice clip that is purportedly of Suresh, at present in judicial custody, who alleged the ED was putting pressure on her to give a statement against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The development has created a political stir in the state.

The official sources said Suresh is a "prime accused" in the case and the allegations made in the clip of coercion by the ED to take certain names are "false and aimed to stall probe in the case".

They added that the ED has not offered her to be made an approver in the case.

The sources said the agency is "digging deep" into this money laundering case linked to gold smuggling and is looking to unravel the entire money trail that reached various people.

Meanwhile, The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday carried out searches in five places in Kerala in connection with the gold smuggling case, its spokesperson said here. The searches were conducted at the residences of five accused -- Mohamed Aslam, Abdul Latheef, Nazarudheen Sha, Ramzan P and Muhammed Mansoor.

These accused conspired with the already arrested accused and facilitated smuggling of gold through import cargo addressed to the UAE Consulate General, and its disposal, the agency aid.

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