Threat to life: Court approves gold smuggling-accused Swapna’s request for protection in custody
While Swapna claims that a group “identifiable” as police threatened her and her family, Raveendran skips meeting with ED citing post-Covid complications
The probe into the Kerala gold smuggling investigation by several central agencies has hit certain snags — again. Firstly, Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the gold smuggling, has approached the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate for protection while under judicial custody. She had claimed that a group, “identifiable” as police officers and prison officials, had threatened her while she was in judicial custody in the Attakulangara Women’s prison in Thiruvananthapuram. She had been detained in the prison until November 25, after which she had been under Customs custody.
“While I was in judicial custody in Attakulangara prison, some persons, identifiable by sight claiming to be prison and police officials, had visited me and had warned me against disclosure of the names of persons in high authority suspected to have involved in the alleged criminal activities,” she noted in her application. She added, “They claimed that they are capable of causing harm to my family members outside the prison and even capable of doing away with my life inside the prison.”
The alleged threatening continued until November 25, and since the custody period with the Customs agency is over, she suspects a threat to her life. This is especially considering the fact that she had revealed a lot including the name of a mystery political big wig in the dollar case. Following her plea, the Court has granted protection to Swapna in judicial custody and it has directed jail DGP to do the necessary.
Meanwhile, the second hit to the investigation concerns the Chief Minister’s office. The Enforcement Directorate had invited Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s Additional Private Secretary for questioning — third invitation — on December 10. However, Raveendran has checked himself to Thiruvananthapuram Medical College citing post- Covid complications — for the second time.
Raveendran explained that post his Covid, he had been experiencing severe headaches, and tiredness. Reportedly, the doctors have recommended further examinations, including a neurological check-up. The ED had sent the first invitation in October, which failed due to Raveendran testing Covid positive, and the second time the latter had skipped citing post-Covid complications. Meanwhile, the central agency had probed the Uralungal Labour Corporation looking for information on Raveendran’s alleged Benami relations.