Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, his three ministers and the Speaker knew of the gold smuggling activities through the United Arab Emirates (UAE) consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, the customs department told the Kerala High Court Friday quoting main accused in the case, Swapna Suresh.

The development comes ahead of next month’s assembly elections.

“Swapna Suresh was the mediator in the talks between the Chief Minister and the Consulate General as the CM does not understand or speak Arabic. Swapna’s statement states that the CM and ministers got crores of money as commission in the deal,” the customs affidavit said.

Swapna’s statement was recorded under Section 108 of the Customs Act, and the 164 statement (given before the Magistrate). In November 2020, a voice note alleged to be that of Swapna's had emerged, in which it was said that investigation agencies forced her to name Kerala CM in the case and that she could then turn an approver in the case.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Friday sought a response from M Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary to Kerala Chief Minister, to an appeal filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against Kerala High Court’s decision to grant him bail in the gold smuggling case.

A Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan, however, did not stay the High Court order, saying the “man is already out on bail”.

“We are not putting you (Sivasankar) inside, we are only issuing notice. There is no need for a stay [of the HC order]. He is already out,” Justice Bhushan remarked.

Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, for the ED, submitted that Sivasankar was “neck-deep” into the crime, which involves a well-crafted money-laundering network.