Kerala: Swapna Suresh, a key suspect of Kerala Gold Smuggling Case has moved the state high court for anticipatory bail. She is a former foreign consulate employee, is absconding and the opposition has alleged that she is being protected by the Chief Minister's Office (CMO).
The case is related to the seizure of 30 kg gold worth Rs 15 crore by Customs Officials at the airport coming, in diplomatic baggage on July 4. It was found in baggage linked to the United Arab Emirates Consulate in the state.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in a statement on Thursday handed over the case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) citing national security concerns.
In a related legal development, the consulate's another former employee, R Sarith Kumar, who has been arrested in the case, was produced before the economic offences court in Kochi and sent to the customs department custody for further probe.
As a political storm erupted over the case, the opposition Congress and BJPin the state stepped up their attack on Vijayan demanding his resignation and a CBI probe alleging "involvement of his office" in the case. Congress at the national level also sought a CBI probe.
Kerala state government has removed senior IAS officer M Sivasankar, who was the secretary to the Chief Minister and the IT Principal secretary, following allegations that he had close links with the woman suspect in the case. The official has gone on a year's leave.