Swapna deposition embarrasses Kerala CM in gold smuggling case
-- File photo

K RAVEENDRAN/Kochi

In what should cause acute embarrassment to Pinarayi Vijayan and his government, the Enforcement Directorate filed a charge-sheet in the court against gold smuggling suspects in which Swapna Suresh’s deposition that she was appointed to the state IT department with the knowledge of the Chief Minister.

Swapna Suresh’s appointment had become controversial as she had secured the job on the basis of a fake degree. The government even appointed a committee to study how she got appointed to the department, which is under the charge of the CM.

Pinarayi Vijayan had told media he did not know Swapna, and the ED charge-sheet proves him wrong.

Leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala lost no time in demanding the resignation of Vijayan for telling blatant lies. State BJP secretary K Surendran claimed the ED statement proves Vijayan’s links with the gold smuggling racket.

The charge-sheet has more damning information about the CM and his former principal secretary Sivasankar, now under suspension. Swapna told the investigators she had met Sivasankar in the presence of the CM.

The charge-sheet puts the CM’s former aide on the mat as digital evidence gathered from WhatsApp messages showed Sivasankar in a possible role as a partner in the woman’s dealings. The bureaucrat was evasive about questions, saying he does not remember or the message may have been forwarded.

The charge-sheet says Siva­sa­nkar needs to be grilled to probe his links with the racket. One retrieved message referred to the deposit of Rs30 lakh into Swapna’s account, jointly held with Sivasanakar’s CA.

Meanwhile, the Opposition Congress and BJP demanded the resignation of the CM.

"Vijayan had said he had no clue of how she got a job in the Space Park, but the ED charge sheet says he was aware. CM then said his office is not a haven for such people. That statement has since fallen flat; the onus is now on him to come clean," said Mullapally Ramachandran, the Kerala Cong chief.

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