PALAKKAD: High drama prevailed in Palakkad on Wednesday as PS Sarith, the first accused in the gold smuggling through diplomatic channel case was forcefully taken away by four unknown persons from the flat at Piruvusala near Chandranagar at around 9.45 am.
The incident happened barely 15 minutes after the key accused in the case Swapna Suresh made some revelations to the media. Later it was revealed that the Vigilance sleuths had taken Sarith into custody. He was released at 2.40 pm after three-and-a-half hours of interrogation.
At 11.15 am, Swapna Suresh who reached the office of the High Range Rural Development Society (HRDS) in Chandranagar reacted angrily to the media, alleging that Sarith was kidnapped from the flat by a four-member gang. When media persons pointed out that it was Vigilance who had taken Sarith into custody she objected to the way in which he was whisked away by people who were in civil dress.
Swapna said principal secretary M.Sivashankar was the fifth accused in the Life Mission case, while she was the sixth accused. “Sarith is only the seventh accused in the case. The Vigilance should have taken Sivasankar and me into custody before taking Sarith into custody. The police did not serve any notice and Sarith was not even allowed to take his mobile phone,” she said.
“This is a dirty game. Politics is a dirty game. Will the Vigilance come and take away Sivashankar in the same manner?,” asked Swapna.
Though the incident occurred under the limits of Palakkkad south police station, the cops at the local station had no information about the incident. They launched an investigation after Swapna Suresh complained that Sarith was kidnapped by four persons from the flat. The police checked the CCTV footage from the flat at 11.45 am to identify the persons who took away Sarith.
In the CCTV footage, Sarith was found boarding the car along with the four persons without any resistance. The security personnel at the flat also confirmed that four persons had arrived and Sarith had left with them.
Meanwhile, the police revealed that it was the Palakkad unit of the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau which had taken away Sarith. The vigilance officers said they had gone to the flat to serve a notice to Sarith. As he refused to accept they had taken him to the office. The notice was served asking him to appear before the Vigilance department in Thiruvananthapuram for interrogation in the Life Mission case on June 16.
Later, Swapna repeated her allegation that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, his wife, Kamala, daughter Veena, M.Sivashankar, former chief secretary Nalini Netto and office secretary Raveendran were involved in the case. She repeated that the bag containing currency notes was sent to Dubai at the request of Sivashankar. Swapna alleged that many vessels were brought from Dubai through the diplomatic channel and sent to the Cliff house.
She said that she was not involved in politics and had no agenda. The degree of involvement of each individual in the case should be investigated. She said that many persons were exploiting and manipulating her. She gave the 164 statement as she feared for her life.
Swapna said that she will reveal more information in the future. “I am subjected to interrogation relentlessly while the members of the Chief Minister’s family are living happily,” she said.
Sarith who met media persons after his release said that he was forcefully taken away by the vigilance officials. He was not even allowed to wear his slippers and they took away his phone. He said that he had not received any summons.
Sarith said the Vigilance officers did not ask him a single question on the Life Mission case. He said the vigilance officers wanted to know at whose behest did Swapna Suresh conduct a press meet on Tuesday.
Swapna Suresh and Sarith who were employees of HRDS India, an NGO were provided flats at Piruvasala near Chandranagar by the organisation.