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Customs to quiz Kerala CPM ex-secretary’s wife | India News


KOCHI: The Customs Commissionerate (Preventive) has served a notice to Vinodini Balakrishnan, wife of former CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, summoning her to its Kochi office on March 10 for questioning.
Customs sources said Vinodini has been summoned after the agency traced the IMEI number of one of the six iPhones given by Unitac MD Santhosh Eappen to Swapna Suresh to a SIM card reportedly registered in Vinodini’s name. Swapna Suresh is the prime accused in the cases related to gold and currency smuggling through diplomatic channels. The SIM card was found to have been used in the phone for a particular period of time.
Vinodini was being summoned to get clarity on the issue, sources said.
Customs sources said more high-profile people are likely to be summoned for questioning in the coming days in connection with cases linked to the gold smuggling. They hinted that Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan could also be summoned, as the Customs higher-ups are of the opinion that all persons referred to in the affidavit filed in the high court on Friday have to be questioned to ascertain the facts behind the statements given by Swapna.
The agency had issued a summons to the Speaker on Friday, hours after Customs commissioner Sumit Kumar filed a statement before the high court that Swapna has revealed that the currency smuggling was carried out “at the instance of the chief minister and the Speaker with the help of the consulate”. After TV channels reported about the summons issued to Vinodini, Eappen said he had given the phones to Swapna Suresh and that he had no connections with Kodiyeri Balakrishnan or his wife.
Vinodini too is learnt to have dismissed the allegation stating that she does not know Eapen and that she didn’t receive any phone from him.
Meanwhile, the Customs commissioner took a dig at LDF over the protest march to the customs office in Kochi in his Facebook page on Saturday. The march was held to protest alleged misuse of central agencies for political gains. “A political party trying intimidation. Will not work,” the commissioner commented.
The agency has also issued a summons to Thiruvananthapuram native Divya S, directing her to appear before it in connection with the probe into the gold smuggling case on Monday.
In a statement submitted before the high court on Friday, the Customs had said that in her 108th and 164th statements, Swapna Suresh had made shocking revelations about the chief minister, the speaker and some ministers of the state cabinet.

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