Kochi: Swapna Suresh, an accused in the diplomatic gold smuggling case, has claimed that the iPhone which she had presented as a gift to M Sivasankar, the then Principal Secretary to the Kerala Chief Minister, is now missing. In an affidavit filed before the Kerala High Court, Swapna said that even though the National Investigation Agency (NIA) – which is probing the case – had seized the iPhone, it was not recorded in the ‘mahazar’ (list of articles involved in a houses).
“The iPhone contains chats and other details revealing the involvement of the Chief Minister and others in the case,” said the affidavit. Swapna also claimed that the disappearance of the crucial iPhone proved that the state government was making all moves to sabotage the investigation of the Central agency.
Swapna had filed the affidavit in response to the state government’s plea to close the conspiracy case related to gold smuggling.
‘Jaleel engaged in anti-national activity’
In her affidavit, Swapna also raised serious allegations against KT Jaleel, who was a minister in the first LDF government led by Pinarayi Vijayan. “Jaleel carried out various anti-national activities. He engaged in secret negotiations with the UAE’s consul general at the Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram without the knowledge of India’s Ministry of External Affairs, ”she said.
‘Ban sought on newspaper’
In yet another charge against Jaleel, Swapna said that he had written to the ruler of UAE to ban the ‘Madhyamam’ newspaper in that country. According to Swapna, Jaleel had sought the ban pointing out that the newspaper had reported that a large number of Indian citizens were losing their lives to the COVID-19 pandemic in the UAE.
As evidence of this letter, Swapna presented before the court a copy of the communication Jaleel had forwarded to her on WhatsApp.
Swapna – who was a personal assistant (PA) to the consul general – further said in the affidavit that the consul general had told her that Jaleel had promised all assistance from the state government as well as the Chief Minister to his illegal business dealings carried out by misusing diplomatic channels.
“The consul general also said that he was planning a number of business projects with the partnership of Jaleel,” said Swapna.
Jaleel admits to contacting consul general
Responding to Swapna’s allegation regarding his mail to the UAE authorities seeking a ban on the newspaper, Jaleel said that he had only sought details from the consul general and Swapna, his PA.
“I did not demand a ban on ‘Madhyamam’ in the UAE. Moreover, neither the state government nor the CPM was aware of my communications with the UAE authorities, ”said the former minister, who is presently a Member of the Legislative Assembly.
“I only wanted to learn the real situation in the UAE,” Jaleel explained.
However, when a reporter pointed out that his letter had clearly mentioned a ban, Jaleel agreed.
‘No business deals’
The former minister also claimed that he had no business deals with the consul general. “I operated a travel agency during my days with the Youth League. But, now, I have no business ventures anywhere in the world, ”said Jaleel.
‘Many NIA officers are loyal to Pinarayi, CPM’
Several Kerala cadre officers in the National Investigation Agency (NIA) – which is under the Central Government – are close to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the CPM, according to Swapna Suresh. “This is the reason why the Chief Minister recommended an NIA probe in the diplomatic smuggling case,” claimed Swapna in an affidavit filed before the Kerala High Court.
“This fact was mentioned to me by M Sivasankar, who was the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister,” said Swapna.
“Sivasankar said that if the NIA investigates the case, the evidence can be manipulated,” said Swapna said in her affidavit.