Kerala gold smuggling accused funded terror activities: NIA
Customs officials said Ramees (28) was first booked in 2014 in connection with the smuggling of 15kg gold through cargo in Kozhikode.Updated: Jul 27, 2020 07:23 IST
A multi-agency team probing the Kerala gold smuggling case has said one of the accused, K T Ramees, was the key link in diverting proceeds of smuggling to fund anti-national activities in south India.
In its petition seeking the remand extension of Ramees, who is in customs custody, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said he seemed to be the kingpin and was in constant touch with some fringe elements working against the interests of the country.
“He used to insist other accused to make use of the situation and bring maximum gold from the middle-east. He wants to weaken financial position of the country. He was also close to many who indulged in unlawful activities and he made frequent trips to abroad,” the NIA said in the custody report.
Ramees was arrested by customs officials from his house in Malappuram after the NIA detained two other accused, Swapna Suresh and her accomplice Sandip Nair, from their hideout in Bengaluru on July 10, five days after 30kg gold was seized from a consignment that came in the name of an employee of the United Arab Emirates consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.
“He made several trips to the UAE and other countries in five years. When asked about this, he said he runs a hotel in Dubai. But later we found that it was incorrect. We have information that a good portion of the smuggling proceeds was used to fund fringe elements,” said a senior official familiar with the probe.
Customs officials said Ramees (28) was first booked in 2014 in connection with the smuggling of 15kg gold through cargo in Kozhikode. But he got away by paying fines. In 2016 the forest department had booked him for hunting a deer. But he was not convicted in that case. Another case was registered against him after he tried to smuggle six rifles through the Kochi airport.
“We will also inquire how such a history- sheeter got away and who all helped him,” said the senior official cited above, adding he used to fund various political parties and was engaged in social activities to dodge suspicion. The multi-agency team headed by the NIA and assisted by customs, DRI, enforcement directorate and income tax department officials is also investigating a possible nexus involving hawala transactions and smuggling.
Meanwhile, the NIA has summoned M Sivasankar, former principal secretary to the chief minister, for questioning in Kochi. He was earlier questioned by customs for nine hours and the NIA for four hours.