Swapna Suresh's 'revelations' against Kerala CM kicks up political storm; CPI-M questions Centre's intentions

Kochi: Kicking up a political storm in poll bound Kerala, the Customs, probing the gold smuggling case, on Friday claimed prime accused Swapna Suresh has made "shocking revelations" against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan and some ministers on dollar "smuggling" involving UAE consulate officials.

In a statement filed in the Kerala High Court weeks before the assembly elections in the state, the Customs said Suresh made the "revelations" in statements given to the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences) under Section 164 of the CrPC and to the investigating agency under Section 108 of the Customs Act.

Seizing the opportunity, the opposition Congress and BJP raised it as a big political issue in the ongoing election campaign.

The ruling CPI(M), however, hit out at the BJP-led central government questioning its intentions in the backdrop of the elections.

"It is submitted that in the 108 statement and 164 statement the first respondent had made shocking revelations about the Hon'ble chief minister, Hon'ble speaker of Kerala Legislative Assembly and some Hon'ble ministers of the state cabinet", the statement filed by Customs (Preventive) Commissioner Sumit Kumar claimed.

Suresh had also alleged the Chief Minister had close connection with the previous Consul General of UAE and gave statements that illegal monetary transactions were carried out, it said.

"She has stated with clarity about smuggling of foreign currency at the instance of the Hon'ble chief minister and the Hon'ble Speaker with the help of the Consulate," the statement claimed.

The dollar case relates to alleged smuggling of USD 1,90,000 (equivalent to Rs 1.30 crore) by a former finance head of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram to Muscat in Oman.

Suresh and co-accused Sarith P S in the gold smuggling case are also allegedly involved in the dollar case and had already been arrested by the Customs.

While senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala termed as "shocking" Suresh's "revelations" against Vijayan and Assembly Speaker Sreeramakrishnan, BJP state president K Surendran said "jail is ensured for Vijayan..."

Slamming the CM, Chennithala, who is also the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, said he does not have the right to remain in the chief minister's post in view of the revelations.

"Even with this shocking evidence in hand, the probe agencies have put on the backburner the investigation.Who gave instructions to freeze the investigation? The investigation was put on the backburner when it was sure that the probe would reach the chief minister." "This seems like part of a ploy by the chief minister and the BJP," Chennithala said.

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