Angry opposition supporters took to the streets across Kerala on Friday to demand the resignation of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan after the unearthing of the gold smuggling case even as the NIA told the High Court about prime accused Swapna Suresh’s role in the racket.
The National Investigation Agency, which has since taken over the probe, told the court hearing her anticipatory bail plea that she had a role to play in the racket and strongly opposed the bail.
Following this, the High Court, without accepting her plea, posted the case for July 14 but asked the NIA to supply a copy of their charge sheet to Swapna’s counsel.
The Customs made the seizure of 30 kg gold smuggled through diplomatic consignment on Sunday. Since then, Swapna has been on the run, while her former colleague Sarith posted at the UAE Consulate has been arrested by the Customs. She had earlier worked with the UAE Consulate in the liaison wing.
Swapna was said to be very close to now-ousted IAS officer M. Sivasankar, who was Secretary to Vijayan apart from holding the charge of Information Technology Secretary.
At Vijayan’s hometown Kannur, angry Youth Congress workers were stopped from proceeding to his house, which led to scuffles between party workers and police. Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd, injuring six persons in the melee.
Similar protests were witnessed in other districts also.
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the audio clipping of Swapna that proclaimed she is innocent is a “well-scripted one”.
“It is a well-scripted act and meant to give a clean chit to Vijayan, his office and others in the government. Will any accused ever say they have committed a crime? This is all humbug and done by all when caught red-handed,” said Chennithala.