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Kerala gold smuggling case: Key suspect says she acted on directions from UAE diplomat

Applying for anticipatory bail in the high court on Thursday, Suresh said the cargo was addressed to Rashid Khamis Al Sheimeili and it was on his direction that she intervened with Customs regarding delay in getting the cargo released.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram | Updated: July 11, 2020 8:03:23 am
On June 30, she claimed she was directed by Al Shameli to check with Customs regarding the delay of his consignment to Thiruvananthapuram from UAE.

UAE Consulate ex-staffer Swapna Suresh, who is suspected to be a key figure in the bid to smuggle gold via diplomatic cargo addressed to the UAE Consulate-General here, has stated that she worked with the consulate “on request basis” and had intervened to get the cargo cleared at the behest of Acting Consul-General Rashid Khamis Al Sheimeili.

Applying for anticipatory bail in the high court on Thursday, Suresh said the cargo was addressed to Rashid Khamis Al Sheimeili and it was on his direction that she intervened with Customs regarding delay in getting the cargo released. Suresh, who claimed she had resigned as executive secretary at the Consulate in September 2019, said “it was as per discharging the official duty that she contacted the Customs”. The bail application mentioned that the Consul General returned to UAE in April and Rashid Khamis Al Sheimeili was subsequently appointed Acting Consul-General.

Read | Smugglers use relaxed checks amid Covid, get in gold through expats in spl flights: Customs

Suresh has worked as a manager with Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited, under the IT Department, since her reported exit from the Consulate in 2019. She was a visible host face at Space Conclave, which the IT Department held this January.

In her bail application, Suresh said she had not committed any offence as alleged and was falsely implicated as the key accused in the matter. She has been absconding since Sunday, when Customs seized the gold from the diplomatic cargo at Thiruvananthapuram airport.

Kerala gold smuggling explained|  Diplomatic cargo, an absconding woman and a consulate under scanner

The UAE Consulate-General’s office did not comment on Suresh’s statement in her bail application.

When contacted, an official at the UAE embassy in Delhi refused to comment, saying they would keep the media updated when there is a reaction from the embassy.

In an audio clip released to TV channels, Suresh is purportedly heard saying that she was not sacked by the Consulate but quit on her will. “Many of you (media) have been saying that I have been getting a salary of Rs 1 lakh at KSITIL. But I was getting a much higher salary at the consulate as executive secretary. Everyone would be asking why I intervened in consulate matters while I was working as a contract employee with the IT department. It was because of my love towards the UAE, where I was born and brought up,” she purportedly says. She did not mention why she had quit the consulate job.

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