KOCHI: Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case, has claimed before the Enforcement Directorate that she had "considerable influence" in the Chief Minister's Office, the agency told a special court here on Friday.
In its written submission in an application filed seeking extension of custody of the accused, the ED also said suspended IAS officer M Sivasankar was fully aware that Suresh's integrity was dubious and his further questioning was required in connection with the case.
"It is revealed that she had considerable influence in the office of the Chief Minister", the agency said in the application.
Considering the submission by the ED, probing the money trails in the sensational case, the court for PMLA cases granted extension of custody of the accused, including Suresh, Sarith and Sandeep Nair, by three days.
A similar submission had been made by the National Investigation Agency before the NIA court on August 6 while opposing the bail plea of Suresh.
During her questioning, the prime accused in the case informed that she had "good influence" in the Chief Minister's Office (CMO), the NIA had said.
The ED said when Suresh was questioned, she revealed her "closeness" with Sivasankar, the suspended secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
"The secretary was fully aware that her integrity is dubious. This is leading to a situation for further questioning of Sivasankar," the agency said.
"It has also been revealed that when the state machinery was in UAE from October, 17, 2018 to October 21, 2018 seeking assistance of the Indians there for flood relief, she had meetings with the secretary to the Chief Minister.
"All these new revelations require more questioning of Swapna and the other two accused in the custody of the Enforcement Directorate," the agency submitted.
The ED had recorded formal arrest of the accused Sarith, Suresh and Nair on July 22 while they were in NIA custody.
On August 5, Special Court (PMLA) had remanded the accused to ED custody till August 11, and later extended it for a further period of four days till Friday.
The ED said during the investigation some of the other persons connected in the case were examined.
It was revealed in the investigation that the accused had links with high profile persons.
The ED also said the involvement of other people in this crime as well as the end users and beneficiaries need to be ascertained.
These aspects were yet to be investigated in depth, it said.
According to official sources, Sivasankar was earlier interrogated by the agency in connection with the case.
Multiple agencies including NIA, Customs and Enforcement Directorate are probing the case of smuggling of gold worth over Rs 100 crore through diplomatic baggage addressed to the UAE consulate at Thiruvananthapuram since November last year.