Thiruvananthapuram : The Kerala Police on Saturday night ordered a preliminary probe by the Crime Branch police into the latest row over the audio clip of Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case.
The audio clip revealed her purportedly talk about pressure to name Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the case.
On Thursday morning, Director General of Prisons, Rishiraj Singh, had ordered an immediate probe into it; afterwards, senior police officer Ajay Kumar reached the jail where Swapna is lodged.
After meeting with her, Ajay Kumar told the media that Swapna agreed that the audio clip was hers; however, it was not recorded there and she did not remember when she said this and to whom.
Following this, Singh wrote to state police chief Loknath Behra to conduct a probe into how and where this audio clip was generated. However, nothing happened. But it took a different turn after the Enforcement Department (ED) raised the issue. It was after that the Behra was forced to order a preliminary probe.
As soon as this audio clip surfaced, the CPI-M went hammer and tongs against the national agency that they were playing foul, but things went for a toss when Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan alleged on Thursday that the clip was scripted by the CM's office and added that it was nothing but a drama of the CPI-M and the immediate beneficiary of the latest audio clip is Vijayan.
The Enforcement Directorate has also begun a parallel probe into the matter.
The new round of controversy started after state BJP President K. Surendran said on Wednesday that Swapna had numerous visitors in the jail, including close aides of Vijayan and state Finance Minister Thomas Issac.
Soon after the BJP leader made this statement, Singh asked Surendran to withdraw his statement or face legal action, which was quickly contested by the state party chief, who then wanted to know how did an audio clip believed to be that of Swapna surface.
The jail department, however, pointed out that she only made a call to her mother and whenever she met visitors, the Customs officials were always present.
The case came to the fore after the Customs department arrested P.S. Sarith, a former employee of the UAE Consulate here, on July 5 for allegedly smuggling gold in a diplomatic baggage destined for the Consulate.
All eyes are on the Crime Branch probe as the ED has taken this issue very seriously.
IANS report with edits