In the ongoing Kerala Gold Smuggling Case, Chartered Accountant P Venugopal has revealed that he opened a joint locker along with Swapna Suresh on the direction of M Sivasankar, former principal secretary to the Kerala chief minister.
In a statement to the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Venugopal said that "when Swapna returned home with the cash, Sivasankar was present there. Sivasankar was present when Swapna handed over the cash and held discussions afterwards. Sivasankar was present during the entire discussion.
"I had opened a joint account for Swapna Suresh based on the direction of Sivasankar. Sivasankar came to my house along with Swapna and handed over the cash two days before it was deposited in the locker," he said.
Venugopal added that "the bag carrying cash was handed over by Swapna. But Sivasankar had sent a text on WhatsApp before that stating that Rs 35 lakh was being sent. However, only Rs 30 lakh was there. After depositing the cash in the locker, a WhatsApp message was sent to Sivasankar to which he replied thank you."
He said that he did not charge any fee from Swapna Suresh because of his connection with Sivasankar.
"I did not charge any fee from Swapna Suresh because of my long time connection with Sivasankar. I was called several times to close the locker. Swapna had taken Rs 30 lakh from the locker in several installments. On three to four occasions, I took cash from the locker and handed it over to Sarith. Once the entire amount was taken out of the locker, she called me to close the locker," he said.
Earlier, Sivasankar told ED in the statement that he had returned after introducing Swapna Suresh to Venugopal.
In the charge sheet, ED listed Venugopal as a witness.
( With inputs from ANI )
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