ED turns up heat on Kerala CM with chargesheet in gold case
KOCHI: The primary chargesheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday on the Thiruvananthapuram gold smuggling case said prime accused Swapna Suresh met M Sivasankar, former principal secretary to Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, several times in the presence of the chief minister and that the CM was in the know that she had been hired by Space Park, a state government agency.
The chargesheet was submitted at the special court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases in Ernakulam.
In her statement recorded on August 8, 2020, Swapna said she met Sivasankar eight times officially and many times unofficially. “She met Sivasankar five to six times in the presence of the chief minister of Kerala. The CM knew her as secretary to the consul general. She joined Space Park in November 2019,” the chargesheet said. Swapna reportedly told ED that she was selected at Space Park as “she was close to Sivasankar and trustworthy and reliable and her appointment was in the knowledge of the CM of Kerala.”
The 303-page chargesheet, accessed by TOI, includes 23 pages of the agency’s findings besides 19 sets of documents as evidence.
Sivasankar had asked her to meet KSITTL MD Dr Jayasankar and special officer Santosh in person to discuss her role and responsibilities in Space Park. “Sivasankar told her that he will discuss the matter with the CM and do the needful. Thereafter, she got a call from Santosh asking her to join,” the chargesheet said.
The chargesheet also shed light on dealings behind the Life Mission project. “She (Swapna) told Santosh Eappen of Unitac Builders to meet Sivasankar, IAS, through whom he can get connected to the CEO, Life Mission and get the necessary approval…accordingly, they met Sivasankar and got the approval,” it said.
As per Swapna’s statement, she was given Rs 1.08 crore to facilitate the award of contract. “It was decided that three million UAE dirhams would go to the Consul General, Khalid (head of finance at UAE Consulate) and herself and from the rest of the amount, 6% would be shared among Sandeep, Sarith (two others accused in the case) and herself,” the chargesheet said.
The chargesheet sought permission to continue investigation and file supplementary chargesheet. The primary chargesheet has been filed after the requisite period of 60 days but the ED on Wednesday opposed Swapna’s bail plea. The court will hear both the sides on Friday and decide on the petition.