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kerala gold & housing scams: Voice clip seen as part of plot to sabotage probes

12:16 AM Nov 22, 2020 | K Raveendran

Thiruvananthapuram

The authenticity of Swapna Suresh’s voice clip about alleged pressure from the probe agencies to implicate the Kerala Chief Minister in the gold smuggling and Life Mission kickback scam is being increasingly called into question, even as the Enforcement Directorate suspects a conspiracy to scuttle the investigations.

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ED has already written to the jail department chief Rishiraj Singh, asking for a probe into the circumstances leading to the voice clip leak, which he has in turn forwarded to police DG Loknath Behera. The jail chief informed that police chief that the enquiry is now unavoidable as the former is obliged to submit the report to ED.

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The jail department has taken the stand that since the leak could not have happened when Swpna was in judicial custody, the jail authorities cannot take the responsibility. The police department on is part had decided that there was no need for any investigation as Swapna has not denied that it was her voice.

But the ED demand for a probe has caught the two departments by surprise as they have no option but to respond to the ED. The ED investigators are themselves planning to question Swapna Suresh in connection with her alleged complaint.

The opposition leaders see the clip as part of a design hatched by the CM’s office and the ruling CPI-M to scuttle the investigations using Swapna Sure­sh and M Sivasankar as the investigators are apparently closing in on the CM.

Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala alleged that the government and the ruling party have embarked on an elaborate plan to sabotage the probe into the gold smuggling as well as drug peddling case involving Bineesh Kodiyeri, the son of Kodiyeri Balakrishnan who recently stepped down as party secretary citing health reasons.

He said that the state government was throwing all democratic norms and propriety to the wind to sabotage the investigations as it has become clear that the investigations will end up in the chief minister’s office. Even the legislature is being misused for this purpose, he added. Chennithala wondered why the chief minister, who has all along defended the investigations, suddenly turned against the central agencies and claimed the CM has since lost his sense of balance. To deflect public attention away from the CMO, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday sanctioned a Vigilance enquiry into an allegation by a liquor businessman that Ramesh Chennithala was in receipt of kickbacks in connection with bar licences when he was KPCC chief. Also targetted is VS Sivakumar, a former minister in the UDF govt. The probe, for which the state govt has sought permission from the Governor, is seen as political retaliation to a number of govt scams currently facing probe.

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