Crime Branch to probe voice clipping purported to be of Swapna Suresh

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Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 21 (PTI): The Crime Branch will conduct a probe into the voiceclip purported to be of gold smuggling case accused Swapna Suresh, now in judicial custody, alleging that central agencies were putting pressure on her to give a statement against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The direction in this regard was issued by state DGP, Loknath Behera on Saturday. A Special Investigation Team of the crime branch has been entrusted to conduct the preliminary enquiry, police sources said.

In the clip, released by an online portal on Wednesday, Suresh,lodged in a women's prison here, purportedly said that the investigation agencies allegedly tried to force her to name Vijayan, which she refused to do.

She was also asked to sign documentsregarding her statement without being permitted to read them, it was alleged The EnforcementDirectorate (ED) hadrequested Jail DGP Rishi Raj Singh to conduct a probe into the circulation of the voice clipping, alleged to be of Suresh.

Singh had informed DGP Behera about the ED's request, following which a preliminary probe by the crime branch has been ordered.

The Customs, the National Investigation Agency and the ED conducted separate probes into the gold smuggling racket using a diplomatic channel that was unearthed with the seizure of Rs 15 crore worth of the precious metal from a baggage of the UAE consulate at the airport here on July 5.

The ruling CPI(M) had said 'attempts' to force the accused to turn approver amounts to challenging democracy and the law of the land, while Union minister V Muraleedharan had alleged that it was a 'politicalplot' to divert attention from corruption charges, ahead of the local body polls next month. PTI UD APR ADMINISTRATOR ADMINISTRATOR