Kerala Police book ED officials for 'forcing' Swapna Sunesh to name CM in gold smuggling case

The case was registered two days ago on the basis of a report filed by the Crime Branch team which has been probing the leak of a voice clip, purportedly belonging to Suresh, police said

Press Trust of India March 19, 2021 19:51:23 IST
Kerala Police book ED officials for 'forcing' Swapna Sunesh to name CM in gold smuggling case

File image of Kerala gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh (right). PTI

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala police have registered a case against the Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials for allegedly forcing Swapna Suresh, key accused in the gold smuggling case, to give statements against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The case was registered two days ago on the basis of a report filed by the Crime Branch team which has been probing the leak of a voice clip, purportedly belonging to Suresh, police said.

ED sources told PTI that they have no information about the registration of the case and would anyhow face it legally.

According to the FIR, the ED officials who had questioned Suresh on 12 and 13 August last year allegedly forced her to give 'false' statements against the chief minister in order to make fake evidence.

"...the ED officials, probing the gold smuggling case while questioning an accused named Swapna Prabha Suresh on 12 and 13 August, 2020, have forced her to give false statements against the state chief minister in order to make fake evidence...," the FIR read.

The Crime Branch case has been registered under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 167 (public servant framing an incorrect document with intent to cause injury), 192 (fabricating false evidence), 195-A (threatening any person to give false evidence), among others of the Indian Penal Code.

Suresh, a former employee of the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, is the prime accused in the case relating to the smuggling of 30 kg of gold worth Rs 14.82 crore in diplomatic baggage. She is under judicial custody since her arrest.

In a voice clip purported to be of Suresh, circulated a few months ago it was alleged that some ED officials had threatened her while being interrogated at the agency office in Kochi in August last year to give statements against Vijayan and some ministers.

Later two women civil police officers, who had been with Suresh when she was interrogated by the ED, had also reportedly claimed that they had heard the ED officials forcing her to name Vijayan.

Besides the ED, the Customs and the National Investigation Agency are also probing the smuggling of gold through the diplomatic channel.

Vijayan has been accusing the Central agencies of targeting his government.

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