A high-profile gold mafia and hungry media
After bagging all accolades for their relentless fight against Covid-19 pandemic, the Kerala government and its Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had to encounter a huge embarrassment in the form of a high-profile gold smuggling case which involved big shots in the corridors of power right under the nose of the mighty ruler
After bagging all accolades for their relentless fight against Covid-19 pandemic, the Kerala government and its Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had to encounter a huge embarrassment in the form of a high-profile gold smuggling case which involved big shots in the corridors of power right under the nose of the mighty ruler. All sorts of media – print, electronic and social – have been celebrating this unexpected piece of juicy bit that came out of the blue at a time when people were getting sick and tired of the constant monotony of corona reports.
'Juicy' because the second accused in the case – a buxom young woman, dangerously glamourous and enviously extravagant – was employed in Space Park and Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited (KSITL), which comes under the State IT Department. A week after the Customs Department seized 30 kg of gold from an air cargo consignment from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the country's consulate in Thiruvananthapuram last Sunday, the NIA sleuths from Hyderabad arrested the accused woman – Swapna Suresh – and her husband from a Bengaluru hotel on Saturday. The arrest took place within 24 hours after the elite investigation agency took over the case sparking a huge outcry from the Opposition parties in God's Own Country for the failure of local police in finding the whereabouts of the accused. While the Opposition Congress and the BJP alleged that Swapna was being protected by the ruling CPI(M), the Marxists went hammer and tongs against the BJP and the Congress accusing them of nurturing a white-collar criminal in the administrative block. After the arrest of the two key accused in the gold smuggling case, the Pinarayi Vijayan government is facing the heat over how the duo managed to exit the State particularly when a triple lockdown has been in place since last Sunday. Whoever is behind the racket, (yes, it is ostensibly the handiwork of a well-knit line-up which includes international crooks and terrorists) the way local media handled the case exposes how avaricious these news agencies and media houses can be in grabbing eyeballs and increasing TRP rates.
Reams of newsprints and long-running debates in television studios narrated and discussed the lifestyle, habits and whims of the woman in question, showed her photos in different angles, and produced spiced stories of her stained past. No one seemed to be interested in digging a bit to find out who could be behind this large-scale smuggling and where all the money from the dealings goes. And in the avalanche of gossips and cooked up stories, the actual delinquents got enough time to cover their own faces and influence the powers that be, thus pushing the case as something of a bad woman's mischief. However, the police said they would investigate how these accused escaped amid triple lockdown and travelled more than 800 kilometres to reach Bengaluru. Though the Chief Minister transferred his Principal Secretary M Sivasankar who was reported to be close to Swapna, it is to be waited and watched if some more skeletons will come out of the closet, or the story will come to an end with stories of escapades of a mystery woman who was close to many high-ranking officials and politicians.A high-profile gold mafia and hungry media