Protocol violation by another Kerala minister comes to light

Gold smuggling case

K RaveendranUpdated: Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 11:53 PM IST
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Kerala gold smuggling case: Prime accused Swapna Suresh sent to judicial custody till Oct 8 | PTI file photo

Thiruvananthapuram

There is no end to the troubles of ministers in the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government over their connections with the UAE consulate.

According to the latest disclosures by Swapna Suresh, the prime suspect in the gold smuggling case, higher education minister KT Jaleel and tourism minister Kadakampalli Surendran visited the consulate seeking personal favours and without permission.

In a most embarrassing disclosure, Swapna claimed Jaleel had sought the help of the consulate in getting a man against whom he had a grudge deported from the UAE. The man’s family alleged the minister organised police raids at their home.

Sources said the minister violated the protocol and committed an offence through his bizarre action. He is already facing questioning over the import of Quran through diplomatic channels, which investigators suspect may have been used to smuggle gold. He has been interrogated by the central agencies several times.

Meanwhile, gold smuggling co-accused Sandeep Nair deposed it was Swapna who persuaded him to get into gold smuggling through the diplomatic channels, saying there is no chance of being caught.

After two dummy runs, the gang smuggled gold through the diplomatic channels 18 times in 2 years. Swapna told him the consul general had to be paid a commission of $1,000 per kg gold.

Nair revealed CM’s former principal secretary M Sivasa­nkar knew about a forgery case against Swapna when he appointed her at the Space Park under the IT ministry, of which he was the secretary.

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