Gold smuggling case: Kerala HC rejects plea for ED, Customs probe against CM

Aji Krishnan, the founder secretary of NGO Highrange Rural Development Society (HRDS) India, who had previously employed Swapna Suresh, one of the accused in the gold smuggling case, had his petition dismissed by Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas.

Kerala High Cout
The Kerala High Court has directed the petitioner NGO to include the Malabar Devaswom Board and the trustees of the temple responsible for organizing the dance performance in their legal proceedings | File Photo: PTI

On Wednesday, the Kerala High Court rejected a petition requesting an investigation by the Customs and Enforcement Directorate (ED) into the purported complicity of prominent political officials, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in the gold smuggling case involving diplomatic bags.

Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas rejected the petition by Aji Krishnan, the founder secretary of NGO Highrange Rural Development Society (HRDS) India, which had briefly employed Swapna Suresh — one of the accused in the case.

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The dismissal of the plea was confirmed by a lawyer associated with the case.

The lawyer said the petition was dismissed as being non-maintainable and on merits.

The detailed order is not yet available.

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Suresh, a former employee of the UAE Consulate here, was taken into custody by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) along with another accused Sandeep Nair from Bengaluru on July 11, 2020.

The NIA, Enforcement Directorate (ED), and Customs conducted separate probes into the racket that was busted with the seizure of gold worth Rs 15 crore from the diplomatic baggage of the UAE Consulate at Thiruvananthapuram airport on July 5, 2020.

Several people, including M Sivasankar, the former Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister and another ex-employee of the UAE Consulate here, Sarith, were arrested in connection with the case.

(With agency inputs)