It was around a few hours back that customs officials at the Thiruvananthapuram Airport seized 30 kilograms of smuggled gold worth Rs 15 crores. Shockingly, the smuggled gold was concealed in diplomatic baggage, and it was for the first time that such an incident is taking place in the state.
Swapna Suresh: The think tank behind gold smuggling
Initial investigation revealed that the think tank behind these gold smuggling activities is Swapna Suresh, a former women employee at the UAE consulate. At present, Swapna is working as the operational manager at KSIT, under the Kerala government's IT department. According to police officials, Sarith, who was also a former UAE consulate employee is also involved in smuggling activities.
As the news surfaced, BJP leader K Surendran claimed that Swapna Suresh has close ties with the IT Secretary of the state and several other government officials. He also urged chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan to give his explanation regarding the involvement of KSIT operational manager in these smuggling activities.
Neighbors of Swapna Suresh, while interacting with Mathrubhumi News revealed that Kerala government's IT Secretary was a regular visitor in Swapna Suresh's house. Some neighbors even hinted that several illegal activities were taking place in Swapna's residence with the knowledge of authorities.
Smuggling using diplomatic baggage
Airports in Kerala are notorious for gold smuggling in India. Usually, smugglers used to hide gold in their body while reaching these airports, and several times, they were nabbed following routine check-ups. Most of these smugglers used to transport gold in the form of biscuits, tablets, ornaments, and even in liquid forms.
Diplomatic baggage is basically the luggage sent from one country to their embassy or consulate in another country. Usually, the privileges to diplomats will be given to this baggage too, and checking these luggage requires special permission from the Ministry of External Affairs.