NIA has conducted searches at five locations in Malappuram and Kozhikode districts of Kerala in connection with the Kerala Gold Smuggling case. The searches were conducted at the residents of five accused in the case namely, Mohammed Aslam, Abdul Lateef, Nazarudheen Sha, Ramzan P and Muhammed Mansoor. These accused conspired with the other accused and facilitated smuggling of gold through import cargo addressed to the UAE Consulate General and its disposal. During the searches, several electronic items and documents have been seized. So far 21 has been arrested in connection with the gold smuggling case, further investigation is going on.
Meanwhile, a short voice clip, purportedly of gold smuggling case accused Swapna Suresh who is now in judicial custody at a sub-jail in Thiruvananthapuram, has kicked up a political storm. A ‘leaked’ audio recording of a phone conversation purportedly between accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case Swapna Suresh and an anonymous person has created a controversy. In the clip put out by a local news portal, Swapna is purportedly heard saying that she would be made an approver if she confessed that she went to UAE with M Sivasankar—former principal secretary to CM Pinarayi Vijayan and an accused in the case—for financial negotiations meant for the Chief Minister. She is also heard saying that “they”—an apparent reference to ED officials—did not allow her to read her statement, but scrolled through it and asked her to sign it.
The voice clip emerged hours after BJP state president K Surendran alleged that many persons close to Chief Minister Vijayan and Finance Minister Thomas Isaac visited Swapna at jail without mandatory permission. The Home Department should release the list of persons who visited Swapna in jail, K Surendran demanded. DGP (prisons) Rishiraj Singh said cyber police have been asked to examine the authenticity of the clip. DIG (prisons) Ajaya Kumar, who met Swapna after the clip emerged, said the voice was prima facie identified as that of her, but it was not recorded from the jail. She has said she didn’t know who recorded it, said Kumar. Meanwhile, M Sivasankar has forwarded his bail plea to the High Court. The Court will consider the bail application on Monday.