As the case pertains to smuggling of large quantity of gold into India from offshore locations threatening the economic stability and national security of the country, it amounts to a terrorist act as stated in section 15 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. Further, as the case has national and international linkages and as the initial enquiries have revealed that the proceeds of smuggled gold could be used for financing of terrorism in India, NIA has taken up the investigation of the case”. – Official statement by National Investigation Agency on taking up the Investigation of Kerala Gold Smuggling Case on July 10, 2020
The unearthing of 30 kg of gold worth Rs 14.8 crore found in baggage on July 5, which was addressed to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) consulate in Thiruvananthapuram created political ripples in the State of Kerala. Though the Communist Parties are more concerned about saving their skin and accusing the opposition parties of destabilising the Government through ‘unscrupulous politics’, the Marxist Party, involved in many capitalist ventures will have to respond to numerous riddles posed by this dramatic case.
The first part of the riddle starts with the notorious character called Swapna Suresh. With her known dubious past of getting suspended from the UAE consulate where she was working as an executive secretary till 2019, how did she get entry into Space Project under the IT department of the Kerala? Even after cropping of her name in the Gold Smuggling Scam, as the case was in limbo from June 30 to July 5, how did she manage to escape Kerala and reach Bengaluru without support from any authority?
The second needle reaches to the CM office is through his most trusted bureaucrat M Sivasankar who was functioning as IT secretary and Principal Secretary to the CM. Though CM Vijayan claimed in the press briefing that ‘There are no legal allegations against Sivasankar’, he had appointed Swapna Suresh as an operations manager at KSITL is a known fact. Is it possible without the knowledge of the all-powerful Communist leader?
The connection of Kerala Minister for Higher Education, Wakf Board and MLA from Thavannur, Malappuram KT Jaleel with this case is even more dubious. Breaking all the protocols, he had as many as sixteen call exchanges with Swapna Suresh. One cannot miss the fact that this Jaleel was once a leader of now banned The Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). What is his connection with the UAE Embassy, and why was he breaking all the protocols? As per the officials, at least thirteen such consignments worth 230 kg of gold was smuggled into the country in the last one year, and they all passed without any check due to diplomatic immunity. As per the reports, the case has linkages with the extortion industry and funding to the Malayalam film industry also.
Most importantly, as the NIA statement indicates the possibility of terror funding through Gold Smuggling is the most potent threat in this case. Under the nose of Communist rule in Kerala, Islamic Fundamentalists are growing in strength. We have seen the virulent form during the protests against Amendment to Article 370 and the Citizenship Amendment Act. A leaked memo from the then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in December 2009 had described UAE as a growing global financial centre, but has a weak regulatory mechanism, making it vulnerable to abuse by terrorist financiers and networks. In such a situation, the questioning on this scam is not about politics but about the dangers it poses to national security. It is true that ideologically Communists do not believe in the concept of nationhood. At least for the sake of remaining relevant in the last citadel in Bharat, CPM must come clean on this dangerous relationship between the RED, the GREEN and the GOLD.