Gold smuggling case accused names Kerala CM in dollar hawala
Thiruvananthapuram, March 5, 2021
Hours after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan slammed the Central agencies, a statement given by the gold smuggling case prime accused, Swapna Suresh, to the Customs Department surfaced on Friday, which said "Vijayan had a role in dollar smuggling".
In her statement recorded under Section 108 of the Customs Act, and the 164 statement (given before the Magistrate) which was filed by the Customs on Thursday before the Kerala high court, she said that Vijayan had close connections with the previous Consul General of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and illegal monetary transactions were carried out.
The statement says: "Her close connection with the Chief Minister and his principal secretary and a personal staff was also revealed by her. She has also stated with clarity about smuggling of foreign currency at the instance of the Chief Minister and the Speaker with the help of the Consulate. She has also clearly stated about the improper and illegal activities of three Ministers of the State cabinet and the Speaker. She has further stated about the involvement and the kickbacks received by high profile persons from various deals.
"She has stated that she is aware of all these transactions and was a witness to the same 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. The role of the former principal secretary (M. 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 was also revealed by her," said the statement of the Customs which is before the high court.
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said Vijayan had no moral right to continue as the Chief Minister.
"Just look into this statement, it was done a few months back and when the probe was about to reach Vijayan, everything came to a standstill and this is because of the secret relations between the BJP and the CPI-M. Now that the cat is out of the bag, Vijayan has to quit and cannot remain in that post even for a minute," said Chennithala.
Senior Congress legislator P. T. Thomas, known for his tirades against Vijayan inside and outside the Assembly, said it's a shame which has fallen on the state.
"It would be the first time that a Chief Minister of any state in the country is being named in dollar smuggling and the only option before him is to quit," said Thomas.
Incidentally, the revelation came at a time when Vijayan was leading the state committee meeting of his party at the state party headquarters here, preparing the final list of his party candidates numbering around 90 seats of the 140-Assembly seats.