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Home / India / Kerala Gold Smuggling case: ED forced me to name the CM, says accused

Kerala Gold Smuggling case: ED forced me to name the CM, says accused

Sandeep Nair, the fourth accused in the high profile case, has in a hand-written letter to the sessions judge complained about harassment
Pinarayi Vijayan
Pinarayi Vijayan
File picture

K.M. Rakesh   |   Bangalore   |   Published 12.03.21, 11:59 PM

A prime accused in the Kerala gold-smuggling case has written to a sessions judge in Ernakulam alleging that a senior official of the Enforcement Directorate had compelled him to name the chief minister and others.

Sandeep Nair, the fourth accused in the high profile case, has in a hand-written letter to the sessions judge complained about the harassment by an ED officer identified only as Radhakrishnan to name Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, some ministers and the son of a senior party leader.

“Investigating officer from this agency, Mr Radhakrishnan, told me they won’t oppose my bail plea if I named the Kerala chief minister, some ministers and the son of a senior leader,” Nair stated in the letter, a copy of which was leaked to the media on Friday.

Nair alleged that the ED official even offered to arrange a good lawyer. “I was offered a good lawyer and promised not to oppose my bail plea if I named those mentioned (chief minister, ministers and the son of a leader) and stated that they had investments in some companies, that I have not even heard of,” he wrote in the letter.

Currently in judicial custody, Nair accused the officer of harassing and threatening him while he was in the ED custody. “While in their custody, I was denied adequate sleep and faced all kinds of harassment and was threatened several times. When I refused to do his bidding and said I have a family, the officer named Radhakrishnan said I would get to see what they are capable of doing.”

The date of submission of the letter was not clear in the leaked copy.

A BJP worker, Nair is a co-accused along with P.S. Sarith, Swapna Suresh and others in the case related to smuggling 30kg of gold from Dubai allegedly using a diplomatic consignment addressed to the attache of the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram in July last year.

His allegations against the ED is quite similar to what two Kerala policewomen had narrated in their statements to a special investigating team probing an audio clip of Swapna, who too had alleged coercion to name the chief minister.

The policewomen, who were among those who took turns to provide security to Swapna when she was in the ED custody, had admitted of being witnesses to Radhakrishnan forcing Swapna to name the chief minister.

The policewomen had apparently recorded their separate statements after the state police launched an investigation into Swapna’s audio clip leaked on November 19 last year.

Their statements were leaked to the media just days after customs commissioner Sumit Kumar filed a statement before the Kerala High Court citing Swapna’s confidential statement in which she allegedly named the chief minister and three other ministers for “illegal money transactions” in a dollar smuggling case linked to the gold-smuggling scandal.

The customs department is investigating the suspected smuggling of $190,000 (Rs1.3 crore) from Thiruvananthapuram to Oman by an accounts officer of the consulate. The money was allegedly a kickback received from a local builder who was awarded the contract to build free houses for some of the 2018 flood victims in a project funded by Emirates Red Crescent.

The advocate-general of Kerala had on Tuesday issued notice to the customs commissioner in a petition seeking contempt proceedings against the officer for leaking Swapna’s confidential statement filed before a court.

The notice was based on a complaint by CPM’s Ernakulam district committee member K.J. Jacob who noted that leaking of a confidential statement amounted to the contempt of court.

The petitioner had alleged that the officer deliberately leaked the petition to embarrass the Left Democratic Front government ahead of the April 6 state polls.



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