The confidential statement of Swapna Suresh in the Dollar smuggling case has introduced new controversies within Kerala’s political circles. In the latest update, civil police officer Rejimol told Crime Branch that the Enforcement Directorate officials had allegedly told Swapna that she could turn approver in the case if she could name Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Rejimol added that the ED officials also forced Swapna to say that the money in the bank locker belonged to CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s former Principal Secretary M Sivasankar and that it was gifted to the latter by the CM. Moreover, the police officer alleged that many of Swapna’s ‘confessions’ have been forced by the ED officials. Rejimol noted that the ED didn’t even allow Swapna to read her statement before signing it.
The current Crime Branch investigation follows the release of an alleged voice note by Swapna in November 2020. The audio message alleged 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 had gone to UAE on behalf of Pinarayi Vijayan, and if she confirmed this in court, she would be allowed to turn approver. The audio clip, allegedly originating from Attakulangara Women’s Prison in Thiruvananthapuram, was sent to a media portal.
The Directorate believed 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.
All of this is happening while Swapna had already named Pinarayi Vijayan, Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan, and three unidentified ministers as having a direct part in the Dollar smuggling case. Following the publication of the “confidential statement” CPM leader KJ Jacob filed a complaint with the Attorney General against Kerala Customs Commissioner Sumith Kumar citing contempt of court. The AG sent a notice to Kumar, asking him to present reasons as to why a contempt proceeding shouldn’t be initiated.
According to the Customs’ affidavit filed before the Kerala High Court, Swapna Suresh admitted to the smuggling of foreign currency at the instance of Pinarayi Vijayan and Sreeramakrishnan. “She has made shocking revelations about the Chief Minister’s close connections with the previous Consul General of UAE and the illegal monetary transactions carried out,” said the affidavit.
It added that she is aware of all these transactions as she is well versed in the Arabic language and hence was forced to act as the translator between the above-said persons and the persons of Middle East origin in all their crucial interactions. Moreover, Swapna also revealed the role of Sivasankar in acting as the “link between the high profile politicians of Kerala and the UAE consulate officials as well as some others and in coordinating the illegal financial dealings under the cover of various activities and projects of the state government”.