The Enforcement Directorate (ED) probing the money trail behind the Kerala gold smuggling case through the diplomatic channel, on Wednesday said Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the case, had contended that Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan was aware of her appointment as the Operations Manager of the Space Park which is a project under Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Ltd ( KSITIL).
In the preliminary charge sheet filed on Wednesday at the Special Court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases in Kochi. The ED said that Sivasankar had promised her that he would talk to the chief minister about her job and ensure her selection. Soon after this, the special officer of Space Park called Swapna and asked her to join the institution, ED stated in the charge sheet.
Quoting Swapna Suresh, ED stated in the charge sheet that she was asked to meet MD, KSITIL (Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Ltd) and the Special Officer Santhosh to understand her responsibilities at Space Park.
CM Vijayan had earlier said he was not aware of the circumstances that led to the appointment of Swapna Suresh in the Space Park.
The ED said thatSwapna and Sivasankar had met several times. The charge sheet also states that the chief minister was present when she met Shivashankar.
“Swapna stated that she met Sivasankar around eight times officially but met him many times unofficially; she met Sivasankar five to six times in the presence of the CM of Kerala; CM of Kerala knew her as secretary to Consul General; that she joined Space Park in November 2019,” ED said in the charge sheet.The chargesheet has been filed against Sarith PS, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, the accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case.
The charge sheet contained 303 pages in which 23 pages were related to findings by the ED as part of the probe. Similarly, 19 sets of documents used as evidence are also included in the charge sheet which alone runs to 276 pages.
The ED further states in the charge sheet that the accused, Sarith PS ,Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair were involved in black money transactions.
“From the investigation under PMLA and evidence gathered so far, it is clearly established that accused persons committed offence of money laundering as defined in Section 3 and they are liable to be prosecuted and punished under Section 4 of PMLA,” said the charge sheet
The ED has demanded a detailed investigation against M Sivasankar, former principal secretary of the chief minister.
The ED stated that Sivasankar is involved in financial transactions of Swapna Suresh.
Sivasankar’s chartered accountant VenugopalIyer had given statement that he had helped Swapna in getting a locker at the bank, more clarity has to be obtained in the Whatspp messages between Sivasankar and Iyer.
There is a mention of one Sara in it. There are some messages like “call me when I am alone”, ED wrote in the charge sheet.
These messages may be regarding the money transactions. All this will be examined after assessing the digital evidence, the ED further says in the charge sheet.
The ED has also sought permission to continue probe and file supplementary charge sheets later.