Kochi (Kerala) [India], October 4 (ANI): The prime accused in the Kerala Gold Smuggling Case Swapna Suresh on Tuesday appeared before the CBI officials at the agency's Kochi office for interrogation in connection with the LIFE Mission case.
The case pertains to the Life Mission project of the Kerala Government.
The project was intended to build houses for 140 families in Wadakkanchery in Thrissur district through the Life Mission by spending Rs 14.50 crore out of Rs 18.50 crore granted by the Red Crescent via the UAE consulate.
The contract noted the construction of a health care centre using the remaining amount.
UNITAC builders, who have the contract of the project, earlier alleged via its managing director Santhosh Eapan that the accused including Swapna had received a bribe worth Rs 4.48 crore for the project.
Earlier in August Kerala High Court had dismissed the petition filed by Swapna Suresh in the Kerala Gold Smuggling Case seeking to quash two cases registered against her for alleged conspiracy after she gave a confidential statement under section 164 of CrPC and raised serious allegations against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
While dismissing the petition, Justice Zivad Rahman said that such criminal cases are dismissed without thinking about the right of the petitioner to challenge the report against him.
"Criminal MCs are dismissed without prejudice to the right of the petitioner to challenge the final report in the case," held Justice Ziyad Rahman.
One of these two cases was registered by Thiruvananthapuram cantonment police on CPIM MLA and former minister KT Jaleel's complaint on June 8 this year seeking a probe into the charges made by Swapna Suresh against him in the Kerala Gold Smuggling Case and alleged that she conspired and made defaming statements against him. The police registered the case under Section 153 (wantonly giving provocation with an intent to cause riot) and Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) against her.
After that, the second case was registered by Palakkad Kasaba police against Swapna on a complaint filed by CPM leader CP Pramod. The complainant alleged that Swapna had forged documents and raised phoney allegations against CM Pinarayi Vijayan with an intention of causing riots in the state.
The complainant had also alleged that the statements made by Swapna caused violent protests and demanded a detailed investigation into the matter. Pramod was the LDF candidate in Palakkad in the last assembly election.
In June 2020, diplomatic baggage was detained by Customs officials at the International airport in Thiruvananthapuram on the suspicion of smuggling.
After opening the baggage, 30 kilograms of 24-carat gold worth Rs 14.82 crore was found which was later seized by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs at Thiruvananthapuram airport.
Back in June 2020, the Indian officials had said that it was the first time in history that such a large-scale smuggling attempt happened under the name of a foreign nation's diplomatic office. (ANI)