Ahead of polls, Kerala CM, Speaker named in dollar smuggling case

Swapna Suresh had claimed the chief minister had financial dealings with the UAE Consul General

Pinarayi Vijayan
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan | File Photo: PTI

Weeks ahead of assembly elections in Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan have been named in the Customs department affidavit regarding a dollar smuggling case which was unearthed during the probe into the gold smuggling controversy.

The gold controversy pertains to the seizure of 30kg gold from a diplomatic baggage sent to the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram last year. A multi-agency probe was initiated, following which prime accused Swapna Suresh was arrested.

Swapna, in a confidential statement, has claimed the chief minister had financial dealings with the UAE Consul General, Manorama reported quoting the Customs affidavit submitted to the Kerala High Court.

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She has also alleged the involvement of three state ministers in the dollar smuggling case, which pertains to the smuggling of $1.9 lakh by Khalid Ali Shoukri, the former finance head of the UAE Consulate in the state capital.

The Customs department quoted Swapna as claiming the dollar exchanges were carried out as per the directions of the CM and the Speaker, for which many top officials had received kickbacks, according to the report. The naming of the two top public representatives could affect the Left Democratic Front which will be seeking a second term in power this election.

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Swapna and another accused, Sandeep Nair, were arrested from Bengaluru last year after the NIA took over the gold smuggling probe. Senior bureaucrat M Sivasankar, who allegedly had links with the accused and was named in the case, was also removed from key posts.

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