The Kerala gold scam has got murkier after it emerged that the prime accused, Swapna Suresh, enjoyed a close relationship with the state government’s IT Secretary S Shivashankar. Swapna Suresh, a former staff at the UAE consulate office in Kerala, had managed to secure a job in the state’s Information and Technology Ministry headed by none other than Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Some reports have now claimed that Shivashankar was a regular visitor to Swapna’s house. A report published by LiveMint quoted Swapna’s neighbours as saying that Shivashankar was a regular visitor to her flat in Thiruvananthapuram, raising doubts about the relationship between the duo.
Social media platforms have also been inundated with a photo of Swapna with Vijayan at a public function. In the viral photo, the mastermind of the Kerala gold scam is seen walking alongside the Kerala CM.
Vijayan, for his part, has accused the opposition of defaming his office. He said, “This case is effectively probed by Customs. They will do a good job on this. Nobody will be rescued and all accused will be booked under the law.”
Meanwhile, the Congress has stepped up the attack on the state government, demanding a CBI probe into the case. Ramesh Chennithala, the leader of opposition in the Kerala assembly, tweeted, “I demand a CBI inquiry in the gold smuggling case. The accused is closely connected with Kerala’s IT secretary, who is also secretary of CM @vijayanpinarayi. . It’s quite clear now that CM’s office and his secretary is involved in this case.”
What’s the gold scam?
The gold scam came to light after Customs in Kerala seized around 30 kg gold worth Rs 15 crore, which had landed in a diplomatic baggage by air cargo at Thiruvananthapuram international airport. The bag was addressed to a United Arab Emirates diplomat. The Customs have taken one Sarith, a former Public Relations Officer of the United Arab Emirates consulate, into custody. Sarith has confessed his association with Swapna, who’s now absconding.
Meanwhile, UAE Ambassador to India, Dr. Ahmad Abdul Rahman Al Banna, has told Gulf News that he would be coordinating with local officials in Kerala to get further updates on the investigation.