Aggrieved, ED filed a writ petition through mns Nayar & Co in the Kerala HC.The petition sought the quashing of the FIR registered against its officials by Kerala police for allegedly forcing Swapna Suresh, key accused in the gold smuggling case, to give statements against chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
“It is submitted that in the 108 Statement and 164 Statement the 1st respondent(Swapna Suresh) has made shocking revelations about the Hon'ble Chief Minister, Hon'ble Speaker of Kerala Legislative Assembly and some Hon'ble Ministers of the State Cabinet”, a statement filed by the Department of Customs in the Kerala High Court recites.Ernakulam Economic Offences Court ruled that the statements under Section 164 could not be made available to an investigating officer in a separate investigation and stopped the ED's bid to access these statements.
It is to be noted that Prison Officers of the prison Swapna Suresh as well as co-accused Sandeep Nair have levelled allegations that the Officers of the Central agencies have been coercing the accused to implicate ministers and high-ranking officials in the government.
Sandeep, terming the allegations as bogus asks in the petition:
"Why the allegations were not raised at earlier stages before the relevant court?"The ED has asserted that the FIR against its officers was done to derail investigations into the gold smuggling and consequent money laundering offences. The ED while pointing out that the High Court as well as the Special Court had on several occasions found prima facie commission of the offence, states:
“Impugned FIR has been registered with an oblique motive to put pressure on the investigating officers not only to derail the statutory investigation into the offence of money laundering under PMLA committed by highly influential persons in the State but also ensure that the trial is not conducted in a fair and impartial matter because certain highly placed persons are involved in the case.”The ED also terms the inquiry proceedings preliminary to registering the offence a farce averring that its officers were not questioned at any time. The ED's plea makes mention of former Kerala Principal Secretary M Sivasankar's connection to the gold smuggling investigation as well as the alleged kickbacks received out of the LIFE Mission Project.
Therefore, the ED has urged the Court to quash the proceedings instituted by the Kerala Police against its officials or alternatively, give direction for an investigation by the CBI.