Kochi (Kerala) [India], July 4 (ANI): The Enforcement Directorate (ED) issued a notice on Monday to Shaj Kiran, the alleged middleman in the Kerala gold smuggling case to appear before its officials at the Kochi office tomorrow at 11 am.
"My client is willing to cooperate with the investigation and ready to appear before the investigation officer...," said Shaj Kiran's Advocate E A Jose in a reply to ED today.
Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case earlier alleged that Shaj Kiran, a journalist with strong connections with the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, met her earlier and demanded her to withdraw the allegations against the CM's involvement in the gold smuggling case.
Shaj Kiran through his advocate replied to the notice that he will reach the ED office at the stipulated time with available documents in his hand.
Swapna claimed on Sunday that she has been receiving threats for alleging the CM and his family's involvement in the case, and is being forced to withdraw her statements.
On June 7 this year, Swapna gave a confidential statement under section 164 (recording of confessions and statements) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) alleging the CM's involvement in the gold smuggling case.
Amidst the political furore, the state government had appointed a 12-member team led by the Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) to probe Swapna for giving the 164 statements against the CM.
"No matter how many more cases come up against me, I'll not withdraw my 164 statement. The CM is strongly connected with Shaj Kiran. They sent him to my office and now they've registered another case against me," she said on June 14.
The Kerala gold smuggling case pertains to the smuggling of gold in the state through diplomatic channels. It had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crore smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage was busted by the customs department in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5, 2020.
Swapna Suresh alleged that in 2016, M Sivasankar, the former Principal Secretary to the Kerala CM, had asked her to send baggage to Dubai which belonged to Vijayan.
However, when the bag was brought to the consulate, it was found that it contained currencies and the entire gold smuggling business had begun from then.
M Sivasankar, the principal secretary to Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, was suspended and removed from the post after a preliminary inquiry confirmed that he had links with Swapna Suresh, one of the accused in the National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe.
The case is being probed by the Enforcement Directorate, National Investigative Agency (NIA) and the customs department. (ANI)