KOCHI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is probing the Kerala gold smuggling scandal, on Wednesday said Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the case, had admitted that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan knew about her appointment in the Kerala government's Space Park in Thiruvananthapuram. Swapna also said that she met M Sivasankar in Vijayan's presence several times when he was the CM's principal secretary, according to the ED.
In its charge sheet submitted before the Special Court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases in Kochi, the ED said, "Swapna stated that she met Sivasankar around eight times officially but met him many times unofficially; that she met Sivasankar 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."
On Swapna's appointment to the Space Park project, the ED said Sivasankar had promised her that he will talk to the Chief Minister and ensure her selection. "About her recruitment in Space Park, she stated that she was close to Sivasankar and that Sivasankar told her to meet Dr. Jayashankar MD, KSITIL (Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Ltd) and the Special Officer Santhosh and discuss in person about the role and responsibilities at Space Park; that Sivasankar told her that he will discuss the matter with the CM and do the needful; thereafter she got a call from Santhosh asking her to join," the charge sheet said.
The charge sheet also substantiated that it was following instructions from Sivasankar that chartered accountant Venugopal started a joint bank locker with Swapna. Even though Sivasankar asked him to help Swapna deposit Rs 35 lakhs in a fixed deposit, Venugopal advised her to keep it in the locker. Following this, Sivasankar asked Venugopal to open a joint locker with Swapna.
The charge sheet also reproduced the WhatsApp chats between Sivasankar and Venugopal over financial transactions. Even though Sivasankar was quizzed by ED in this regard, he did not comment.
The ED in the charge sheet stated that the role of Sivasankar has to be thoroughly investigated and he and the other accused have to be confronted with the electronic evidence.