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Sunday, September 27, 2020

Kerala gold smuggling case: Customs questions senior TV journalist

Anil Nambiar, coordinating news editor with Janam TV, was in touch with accused Swapna Suresh on July 5, the day Customs recovered the smuggled gold.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram | Updated: August 28, 2020 2:13:37 am
Key accused Swapna Suresh. (File)

The Customs Department on Thursday questioned a senior journalist with a TV channel in connection with the probe into the smuggling of gold through diplomatic cargo to the UAE Consulate.

Anil Nambiar, coordinating news editor with Janam TV, was in touch with accused Swapna Suresh on July 5, the day Customs recovered the smuggled gold.

“We are looking to see whether the accused got any support from the journalist. There had been telephone calls between the two after the gold was seized. It is too early to say anything about his role in the case. We are looking at whether he had any knowledge about the smuggling and whether he had given any input to Suresh to get out of the incident after gold was seized,” sources said.

“We have come across certain facts and are examining them. The probability of Nambiar being summoned again for questioning cannot be ruled out,” said an official.

Nambiar is the face of Janam TV, a news and entertainment channel, and he has been anchoring several debates about the smuggling case since it came to light.

Nambiar was not available for comment, but he had earlier stated that he had called Suresh to get the Consulate’s version about the gold seizure, assuming that she was a staffer of the Consulate.

Janam TV chief editor G K Suresh Babu said Nambiar had figured in the call list of Suresh. “When we heard about it, an explanation was sought from him. Nambiar told us that he called Suresh to get a reaction from the Consulate after hearing about the gold seizure. Later, she called back and told him the Consulate had no role in it. Nambiar told us that he had no other links with Suresh over the last one year. He said she helped him get a visa to interview jewellery owner Atlas Ramachandran (who had been jailed in UAE in a cheque bounce case),” said Suresh Babu.

He said that if anything was found amiss in Nambiar’s dealings on this issue, action would be taken against him. “Janam TV is a channel with a nationalistic view. We cannot compromise on national interest,” he added.

Nambiar was earlier involved in a forgery case in 2001, when he was a reporter with Surya TV in Thiruvananthapuram. He and a few others, including then Congress legislator Shobana George, had allegedly forged an intelligence report and aired on Surya TV that Congress leader and then state minister K V Thomas had hawala links.

The then Congress government denied such a report and a probe was ordered. Nambiar and others were arrested after the Crime Branch found that the document aired on the news was fabricated. In 2010, a court acquitted all the accused.

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