Accused Swapna Suresh with CM Pinarayi Vijayan. Former Secretary to Chief Minister Shivasankaran (Right) who was ousted for links with Swapna Suresh
When the inspection agency seized Rs 1 cr, from the bank locker belonging to the chartered accountant of both gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh and M. Sivasankar IAS, the suspended Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, none was surprised. When it was disclosed that the money belonged to Swapna, none was flabbergasted either. But, when Swapna revealed that it was the commission she received in connection with a project funded by the UAE chapter of Red Cross, everyone was shellshocked.
When she revealed that the commission was for working as an agent of the Life Mission Project with none other than CPM supremo and CM Pinarayi Vijayan as the Chairman, the shock touched the skies making Keralites to hang their heads in shame. These revelations have put CM in a fix. That Rs 1 cr is not the fruit of the gold smuggling, but the commission she got for acting as the agent of the Life Mission Project, pushed Pinaray regime into an extremely unenviable spot.
The episode can be boiled down like this: CM Pinarayi had made a visit to Dubai post 2018 fatal floods. It was a fund raising spree. The investigation agency had traced that Swapna and Sivasankar had flown to the same destiny four days before CM landed there. UAE Red Crescent Authority, the UAE chapter of Red Cross Society, promised Rs 20 cr to CM as an aid. The next ritual was inking the MoU by Red Crescent Deputy Secretary General for International Aid Affairs and Life Mission CEO U.V. Jose, significantly in the CM’s presence. The aid fund is being used for flat construction in 2 acres of government-owned land at Wadakkancherry in Thrissur district. Swapna revealed to the investigators that she got the Rs 1 cr commission from a private company for getting the construction contract.
The project is the construction of 140 apartments of 500 sq. feet each. It is meant for the people who lost homes in 2018 floods. Yes, it is for the homeless. Fair enough. But, how can a Government of Kerala organisation sign a MoU, for financial aid, with a foreign body, without the concurrence of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Government of India.
It is another flagrant and overt violation of protocol every state has to follow under our federal system hence constitution. Pinarayi once again shows his arrogance that Kerala is a CPM-owned sovereign republic. The Red Cross India is not at all aware of this deal. Therefore, the whole episode looks like a violation of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). Pinarayi has never liked to respect these sorts of rules. It is too early to forget that just after 2018 floods, he told the media that UAE regime had offered Rs 700 cr aid to Kerala. He had never sought the nod of the union government to accept it.
However, the UAE regime made it clear that they had not made any offer like this. Later, CM himself disclosed that he got that information from a friendly business tycoon. By that time CPM and its cyber fighters had banged the drums that PM Narendra Modi prevented foreign aid to flood-hit Kerala, because, PM did not consider Kerala as part of the country. They all were blaming the country’s PM based on a baseless allegations.
In the meantime, the chartered account has revealed to the NIA that a bank account was opened with Swapna as Sivasankar instructed him. Now, there is valid reason to suspect that Sivasankaran also might have got a commission for the same deal.
Now, it is clear that gold smuggling is a mere tip of the ice berg. The whole Pinarayi regime is nothing but a conglomeration of corruption and naked loots.