A voice clip, allegedly belonging to Kerala gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh has sent jail officials and Enforcement Directorate officials into a frenzy. The audio message alleges that a few ED officials had forced her to take Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s name in the case, and in turn, she would be allowed to turn state’s witness.
The voice clip also added that she was forced to sign the recording of her statement without reading it. The report in question had indicated that she and Sivasankar — former Principal Secretary to the CM — had gone to UAE on behalf of Pinarayi Vijayan, and if she confirmed this in court, she would be allowed to turn approver.
It has kick-started a slew of controversies that has pushed jail officials and ED into a frenzy to get to this source. Both agencies have started their probe, with Jail DGP Rishiraj Singh asking South Zone Jail DIG Ajay Kumar to probe into this. The audio clip, allegedly originating from Attakulangara Women’s Prison in Thiruvananthapuram, was sent to a media portal. After their initial investigations, both agencies believe that the voice might indeed belong to Swapna. However, they differ in the where and when of it.
The Directorate believes that Swapna might have recorded it beforehand and scheduled a release for yesterday. The agency adds that they took Swapna’s statements on November 10 and questioned the validity of the audio’s contents. In the clip, the voice does not indicate a specific date and merely mentions that it was “statements taken after November 6”. This has led the agency to deny Swapna’s claims in the audio and add that they never forced her to name anyone. Sivasankar has also made a similar claim in his bail plea.
Meanwhile, the jail officials’ probe indicates that she might have recorded it when she was taken out for investigation. In their questioning, Swapna confirmed that the voice belonged to her, but she doesn’t know when it was recorded, maybe while she was talking in jail. However, the DIG probe doesn’t believe that the recording was made in jail, but outside when she was taken for investigating. They will seek the help of a cyber cell to validate the recording.
Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala alleged that regardless of the clip’s validity, there exists a “deep relationship between the CM and the gold smugglers”. He added, “Using the audio clip, they are trying to protect the government from the fallout. It has already happened beforehand when another voice clip from Swapna tried to protect the CM before the ED arrested her.” He was referring to the incident in July when Swapna released an audio clip while in hiding. She claimed that she was innocent and that the CM and Sivasankar did not have any part in the smuggling. She added that the charges against her were politically motivated to include top members in the state government with the upcoming election insight. The opposition parties have alleged that the latest audio clip is a repeat performance to save the government.