In a major development to the unprecedented gold smuggling case in Kerala, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which has been probing the racket, has revealed that prime accused in the case Swapna Suresh had links with the office of the Kerala Chief Minister.
The smuggling of gold by using the diplomatic cover had startled the nation and the racket emerged as the political heat after the prime accused had close a connection with one of the secretaries of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. While Swapna Suresh went absconding initially, she was then nabbed by the NIA team along with her associate who had a role in the racket.
In what has triggered the incessant political storm in Kerala with the case revolving around the Chief Minister, the NIA has been probing the matter and the central agency has slapped the case against the accused under the grounds of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Amid the probe, Swapna Suresh has moved her bail petition to the NIA special court in Kochi.
During the hearing on Thursday, Assistant Solicitor General Vijayakumar, who appeared for the NIA, said that prime accused Swapna Suresh had established the link with the Chief Minister's Office through the Chief Minister's secretary Sivasankar, with whom she had a close connection.
The NIA's counsel stated that through the connection, Sivashankar had appointed Swapna Suresh in the Kerala government's Space Park and the bureaucrat had advised the prime accused on many issues and the counsel had opposed the bail petition moved by Swapna Suresh.
According to the reports, Sivashankar was suspended from his post after the developments and the NIA's assertion in the special court on Thursday has become the official record that the suspended bureaucrat enjoyed a close association with Swapna Suresh and the NIA's counsel had also affirmed that Sivashankar didn't interfere in the release of the diplomatic baggage, which carried the smuggled gold to the Trivandrum airport.
While the special court asked the NIA on slapping UAPA on the accused, the NIA said that the money from the gold smuggling could have been used for funding terrorism in India due to which they brought under the grounds of the UAPA. The reports stated that the legal assertion from the NIA will add more pressure to the ruling government which already facing the outrage from the opposition parties that demanded the Chief Minister to step down from his post.