Kerala Gold Smuggling Case: National Investigation Agency Arrests Two Key Accused From Bengaluru
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Kerala, 12 July 2020 7:40 AM GMT | Updated 12 July 2020 7:42 AM GMTcheck update history
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The initial inquiries by the National Investigation Agency have revealed that the proceeds of the smuggled gold is believed to be used for financing terrorism in India.
The two key accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case, have been taken into custody by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) from Bengaluru on Saturday.
Swapna Prabha Suresh and Sandeep Nair absconded ever since their names in the case cropped up. They have been detained from BTM Layout in Bengaluru.
Out of the four accused in the case, Swapna is named as the second accused and Sandeep as the fourth. The other two are identified as Sarith PS, who has already been arrested by the Customs (Preventive) Department and Fazil Fareed who is still absconding. All of them have been charged with the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, (UAPA).
This development comes a day after the Customs asked the assistance of Kerala police, post which the agency took over the high profile case. According to The Mint, both of them have been taken to Kochi and are currently under examination.
The initial inquiries by the agency have revealed that the proceeds of the smuggled gold are believed to be used for financing terrorism in India.
Earlier in the week, gold valued around Rs 15 crore was seized by the Customs from a diplomatic cargo at the Thiruvananthapuram airport. Couriers that are granted diplomatic immunity enjoy exemptions from arrest and detention from the receiving state, however, this consignment was confiscated after receiving specific inputs, The Indian Express reported.
According to the media reports, Sarith, a former PRO of the consulate was arrested right when he had turned up to receive the consignment. He later named Swapna, a former employee of the consulate working in the state IT department.
The case then got a political highlight when senior IAS official M Sivasankar was removed from his post as principal secretary to CM, over his role in hiring Swapna Suresh. Around July 9, Swapna contended before the Kerala High Court that the cargo belonged to the Consul General of UAE.
Given the involvement, the Ministry of External Affairs has also informed the UAE Embassy about the case.
The Customs also recorded the statement of the wife of accused Sandeep Nair, about her husband's involvement in smuggling gold with Swapna and Sarith, as well as for other gangs, where the pivotal accused Swapana would arrange paperwork for getting clearance for the packages, and others would complete the due process.
Following, CM Pinarayi Vijayan earlier this week, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking for an 'effective and coordinated' investigation into the incident by central agencies.
BJP State President K Surendran via tweet, raised questions on the CM, how both the accused arrested from Bengaluru had reached Thiruvananthapuram despite the ongoing lockdown in the city.
The NIA has arrested Swapna Suresh in record time, within two days of begining the investigation. But who helped Swapna Suresh to flee Trivandrum which is in Tripple lock down. @vijayanpinarayi who also handles the home portfolio has a lot to answer. pic.twitter.com/t7inkrplMy— K Surendran (@surendranbjp) July 11, 2020
Meanwhile, the Customs is carrying out multiple raids in Thiruvananthapuram, including Nair's house and terminated principal secretary to CM Sivasankar.
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