Kochi, Sep 5 (IANS) In what turned out to be an embarassment for Customs officials, the statement of Swapna Suresh, prime accused in the gold smuggling case, found its way to the media soon after a senior journalist was questioned by the Customs last month. It has now been revealed that the villain behind the leak was an insider.
Soon after Swapna Suresh's statement was flashed on various TV channels which had a reference to journalist Anil Nambiar, the Customs officials were left red-faced and decided to investigate the leak. The Customs top brass approached the Intelligence Bureau and sought their help to track down the culprit who leaked the statement.
After several days of their probe, according to sources in the know of things, the IB has traced the leak to Customs officials who had taken Suresh's statement.
It was a three-member team of the Customs that had obtained her statement and the IB has discovered that one of them had transferred a few pages of her statement, in which she speaks about knowing Nambiar, to the mobile of the official's spouse from where it was sent out.
Ater he was called in for questioning, Nambiar, who was the coordinating editor of the RSS/BJP-backed Janam TV channel, has gone on long leave. He has vowed to come clean and claimed he just had professional ties with her.
The reason for the Customs top brass going red-faced over the airing of her statement was that a top Customs official was transferred after he told the media that the office of the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan did not make any phone call to the Customs, after the gold smuggling case first surfaced.
The state BJP leadership was upset when Suresh's statement came out, since CPI-M leaders used it against the BJP.
BJP leaders suspect it was purposely done by some fellow travellers of the Left in the Customs to shame them.
The gold smuggling case was unearthed when P. S.Sarith, a former employee of the UAE Consulate here, was arrested by the customs department on July 5 when he was facilitating smuggling of 30 kg of gold in the diplomatic baggage to Thiruvananthapuram from Dubai.
It turned even murkier when the name of Swapna Suresh, a former Consulate employee, working with the state's IT Department, surfaced and more so, when her links with Sivasankar, who held the dual posts of Principal Secretary to Vijayan and state IT Secretary, came out.
The IAS officer was subsequently removed from both posts and then suspended by CM Vijayan.