Kerala Gold Smuggling: Swapna Suresh says Consulate General asked her to contact customs

Gold was being smuggled through diplomatic bags of the UAE

Swapna Suresh, one of the persons named by the media in the sensational Kerala gold smuggling case, has claimed innocence in her anticipatory bail plea, and said she acted upon the instructions of UAE’s consulate general in trying to get the bag released from the customs department.

Earlier this week, sealed diplomatic cargo sent by the UAE government to its consulate in Kerala was detained after being considered suspiciously heavy. The UAE consulate had claimed that the bag contained only food items.

The bag was opened in front of the Consul General and 30 kg of gold was found inside.

The sensational gold smuggling case has led to a media frenzy in the state ahead of elections in April. Various media houses have been trying to link the accused with various political parties, based on their in-house leanings. Swapna Suresh’s name was among the first to be highlighted by the media.

In her application for bail, Swapna Suresh, a former employee of the consulate, said she has nothing to do with the smuggling of gold and fears that she may be falsely implicated by the media in the case.

She said when the bag was being detained by customs, she was asked for help in contacting the authorities and said she was now being used as a pawn by vested interests in the media to target the state government.

“The petitioner [Swapna Suresh] has only contacted the Assistant Commissioner of Customs through phone as per the instruction from Consulate General as part of her official work. But now, the petitioner realizes that the media is spreading numerous false stories alleging the involvement of the petitioner in smuggling activity.

“Moreover, different channels are spreading various allegations against the petitioner [Swapna Suresh] connecting her to the office of the Chief Minister of Kerala.

“In fact, the petitioner was working in a private company, named Price Waterhouse Coopers Ltd, for their Space Park project under the IT Department, Government of Kerala, after resigning from the UAE Consulate.

“Now the media is diverting the original news and [attempting] to sensationalize the same to their vested interest,” Swapna Suresh alleged.

She goes on to point out that she was recognized as the best employee of the UAE Consulate in Kerala and has handled the visit of the ruler of Sharjah to Kerala.

“The petitioner has no connection and no involvement with respect to the smuggled gold. The petitioner has been falsely implicated in the above customs case. From media news as well as reports in the local daily, the petitioner really apprehends that there is every chance to implicate her as an accused in the gold smuggling case,” she pleaded.

She then goes on to point out that she is living with her husband and two children, including one studying in the third standard and another attending college.

Meanwhile, local media also reported raids at the premises of the owner of a gold retailer in Calicut.

There have been allegations that the media is burying information about the involvement of a prominent gold merchant in Kerala in the crime.

The premises of a BMS leader was also searched, according to News18 Kerala news channel, in relation to the investigations.

Kerala’s IT Secretary M Sivasankar has already been removed from his post after reports that he was a regular visitor to Swapna Suresh’s apartment, where she lived with her family.

So far, only the Consulate PRO Sanith has been booked for questioning.