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Gold smuggling accused Swapna's calls from hospital under scanner

9/14/2020
Various agencies on Monday started to probe if gold smuggling case prime accused Swapna Suresh made any telephone calls from the state-run Medical College hospital at Thrissur while undergoing treatment there.

Two days after she was discharged from hospital after a six-day stay as she complained of chest pain, Swapna was brought back to the hospital on Sunday with the same complaint.

She is likely to go for an angiogram on Tuesday.

What has led to speculation is that another accused K.T. Ramees also was brought to the same hospital on Sunday after complaining of a stomach ache.

Director General, Jails, Rishi Raj Singh has sought a report from the two prisons where Swapna and Ramees are lodged.

Local Congress legislator Anil Akkara has also questioned the visit of Local Administration Minister A.C. Moideen to the hospital when Swapna was admitted there last week.

Meanwhile, the National Investigation Agency, which is probing the case, approached the NIA Court at Kochi seeking five days custody of Swapna for further interrogation.

Swapna has been in judicial custody at the Viyur Jail at Thrissur, since her arrest by the NIA from Bengaluru in July.

She and her associate Sandip Nair were arrested after the scam came to light following the arrest of P.S. Sarith, a former public relations officer of the UAE Consulate where she had earlier worked, by the Customs.

It was found that gold was smuggled in the baggage that came for the UAE Consulate and since then, the case has created a huge furore for not only the Pinarayi Vijayan government, but also for the ruling CPI-M.

Meanwhile, this issue surfaced in the Parliament when it was pointed out that the gold was smuggled in the diplomatic baggage of the UAE Consulate, and the CPI-M now demanding the resignation of Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan.

As soon as the arrest was recorded by the Customs, Muraleedharan had said that the gold smuggling did not take place in the diplomatic baggage.

In a statement issued here, the CPI-M said right from the start, Muraleedharan had taken a position different from that of various Ministries and probe agencies.

"Except Muraleedharan, all others have said that the smuggling took place in the official baggage of the UAE Consulate. Muraleedharan is hiding something and a probe should be ordered into his stand and the Prime Minister should remove him from the cabinet," the statement said

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