Leak of Swapna Suresh's statement: Finance minister's personal staff quizzed
Kochi: The Customs sought information from one of the personal staff of Finance Minister Dr Thomas Isaac in connection with the incident in which the statement of Swapna Suresh, the gold smuggling case accused, was leaked to the media. It was found out that this staff was one of those who publicized the copy of the statement. The statement was given to him by someone within the Customs, it is suspected.
Three pages of the 33-page statement given by Swapna Suresh was leaked through the media. This portion contained her revelations about Janam TV coordinating editor Anil Nambiar. The statement was leaked soon after the Customs summoned Anil Nambiar for interrogation.
The Customs Preventive Assistant Commissioner was removed from the probe team that is investigating the gold smuggling case. This is learnt to be in connection the leaking of the statement.
The Customs sought information from the minister's personal staff after finding out that the statement was leaked from Customs Preventive headquarters in Kochi and the probe team.
The personal staff member did not deny that he received a copy of the statement and that he shared it. He told the Customs officials that he received it through social media and forwarded it to others without knowing the consequences of sharing the same.
The Customs officials said that this is an offence that comes under charges of hindering investigation and leaking secrets. As this erupted into a controversy, the digital records of the probe team members were checked with the help of central agencies.
The Customs have collected the digital route map to whom the statement was handed over. On the basis of this information, they are likely to seek information from the personal staff of other ministers. The central agencies and Customs are also investigating on the phone numbers.
The Customs will hand over the FIR of the case to the Ministries of Home Affairs and External Affairs. They may also recommend a CBI probe into the matter, if necessary.