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'17 tones of imported dates went missing with CM's knowledge': Swapna Suresh in affidavit

Kochi: In a major development in the Kerala gold smuggling case, the affidavit submitted by prime accused Swapna Suresh alleged that 17 tones of date imported to Kerala from UAE 'went missing' with the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and former Minister KT Jaleel's knowledge.

The affidavit reads, "In 2017, the Consulate General informed me that there is an issue relating to the import of dates. He informed me that he has to import 17 tones of date to Kerala sponsored by Emirates of Red Crescent and it was impossible for the Delhi Embassy of UAE and Consulate of UAE, Mumbai to clear the consignment. Then I contacted Mr Sivasankar (then principal secretary to Kerala CMO) informing him about the requirement of the Consulate General and Sivasankar agreed to help.

Then the Ministry of foreign affairs, UAE sent a letter to the Consulate asking for the clearance of this container containing 17 tones of dates. I was asked by Khalid the Chief Financial Officer of the Consulate and the Consulate General to inform Sivasankar and I called him up and he said he will meet at Cliff House (official residence of Kerala CM) and discuss the same with the Chief Minister."

"We went Cliff House that evening and in the discussion, the Consulate General had with the Chief Minister in the presence of Sivasankar and myself it was agreed that Sivasankar will handle the clearance of this consignment at Kochi. These were sealed boxed in appearance. I could make out that these were not dates as some were heavier boxes that were segregated and kept separately. I was directed to make arrangements to shift the light boxes to the Consulate's office after two days," the affidavit stated.

"The Consulate General thereafter decided to distribute the dates in the state as part of the Ramadan festival. But only a small quantity of dates was distributed, to be precise to 8 institutions as per the list provided by Sivasankar. The fate of the remaining dates was not known but KT Jaleel has received many such cartons which were the part of the consignment from Consulate General's residence and it was the Consul General's driver who delivered it."

"KT Jaleel (present MLA and former minister) had a close relationship with the Consulate General. He had several closed-door meetings with the Consulate General without any approval or even without the knowledge of the Ministry of External Affairs. KT Jaleel and Consulate General used to regularly communicate with the Consulate General through WhatsApp in all the matters including the distribution of the Quran, handing over the consignments claiming to be containing dates and certain other business deals," she added.

"In June 2020, Consulate General informed me that a Malayali settled in UAE is haunting KT Jaleel using documents which will affect Jaleel's position and personality and that KT Jaleel has requested Consulate General's help to tackle this gentleman by putting some fake case on him so as to put him behind the bars. KT Jaleel has given me all the details through WhatsApp and these records were on my mobile and laptop which were taken custody by NIA and produced before the court. KT Jaleel was the party to the distribution of the Quran and dates."

"No one has any clue about the disappearance of 17 tones dates go as they went missing only with the knowledge of the Consulate General, KT Jaleel, Sivasankar, Chief Minister, etc," she added.

"The Consulate General has informed me that KT Jaleel with the help of Madhavan Warrier who is a Benami of KT Jaleel and owner of FLY JACK logistics of Mumbai, has handled similar consignments of 'dates and Qurans' which came at other consulates in other states as he has done in Kerala and the Consulate General informed me that KT Jaleel has agreed to cooperate with the Consul General to handle future consignments that come to various consulates with the help of Madhavan Warrier," she added. (ANI)

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