Kochi: The Law Enforcement Directorate wants a court outside Kerala to look into the money laundering case related to the sensational smuggling of gold in diplomatic baggage.
The central agency has approached the Supreme Court asking for a nod to transfer the case to the jurisdiction of a court in Bengaluru. A high-level meeting of ED officers in New Delhi gave the go-ahead for the move.
The plea requesting permission from the Supreme Court was filed by the Deputy Director of ED for Kochi area.
Senior Kerala bureaucrat M Sivasankar and his former associate Swapna Suresh are among the defendants in the case.
ED fears derailing case by influencing witnesses; hence the decision to transfer the case. Additionally, the likely political patronage of the defendants and the connections of political leaders are also of concern.
The alleged money laundering was carried out by Khalid Ali Shoukri, the former head of the finance section of the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram. As per the case, $1.9 lakh was withdrawn from the country. Sivasankar was named as a defendant in the case based on Swapna’s statements.
Swapna and another accused PS Sarith had accompanied Khalid, who reportedly left for Oman with a bag containing the Dollars. They had accompanied him to avoid security checks at Thiruvananthapuram airport, it was claimed, as they had handled passes for the Green Channel facility.
Conspiracy behind Swapna allegations, HC says
Meanwhile, the Kerala government has informed the High Court that the conspiracy case filed against the gold smuggling case accused Swapna Suresh cannot be overturned.
Evidence collected during the investigation clearly reveals that Swapna had committed the offence, according to the report filed by Deputy Superintendent of Police P Rajkumar of the Special Investigations Team in response to the motion filed by Swapna, seeking to quash the conspiracy case.
This case was filed after she raised allegations against the Chief Minister and his family.
“There is a definite conspiracy behind the allegations raised by Swapna. Swapna along with PC George and some others have conspired to wage a libelous campaign against the Chief Minister and the Government thereby provoking the public and disturbing the situation of law and Swapna and Sarith had gone to meet PC George who was at the government guest house in Thycaud on 9 and 10 February, according to the statements of witness Saritha.
“It is suspected that more people are involved in the plot. The allegations raised by Swapna in the media were culpable and irresponsible,” the report said.