Kerala gold smuggling case probe widens with six more arrests by NIA
Kerala gold smuggling case came to light on July after 30 kg of gold was unearthed from a consignment addressed to the UAE consulate.Updated: Aug 02, 2020 19:07 IST
The NIA probe into Kerala gold smuggling case has unearthed involvement of more people leading to six more arrests in the past three days in the sensational matter. NIA also claims to have collected evidence in six raids carried out at places associated with the accused.
First two of these new arrests were made on July 30, 2020, when the NIA arrested Jalal AM, a resident of Ernakulam distirct and Said Alavi E from Malappuram district. They were arrested on charges of allegedly conspiring with already arrested accused person Ramees KT and for smuggling gold through diplomatic baggage addressed to the UAE consulate at Thiruvananthapuram.
On 31st July, 2020, two more accused, namely Mohammed Shafi and Abdu PT, both residents of Malappuram district, were arrested for playing similar roles in the crime. A day later, on August 1, 2020, NIA arrested Muhammad Ali Ebrahim and Muhammad Ali, both residents of Muvattupuzha, Ernakulam district of Kerala.
“Investigation revealed that they were also a part of the conspiracy besides aiding and assisting arrested accused Jalal A M in collecting the smuggled gold from Ramees K T at Thiruvananthapuram and distributing the contraband amongst other conspirators,” an NIA statement said.
The investigating agency also claimed that Muhammad Ali, son of Abdul Kader, is a member of the controversial organization Popular Front of India (PFI), suspected of involvement in anti-national activities, and was earlier charge-sheeted by Kerala Police in professor’s palm chopping case but got acquitted after trial in 2015.
This case is the first instance of NIA- created to probe anti-terror cases and those concerning national security-- probing a gold smuggling case.
Fears have been expressed that this case could be linked to a wider network of terror financing and hawala operations and could also be part of sinister designs to destabilize the Indian economy.
Kerala chief minister’s close aide and a top bureaucrat is also being questioned in the case and the opposition has alleged that the chief minister was aware of his former principal secretary’s activities.
The NIA also carried out searches at six places associated with the arrested accused on Sunday and confiscated two hard disks, one tablet PC, eight mobile phones, six SIM cards, one digital video recorder and five DVDs besides various documents including bank passbooks, credit and debit cards, travel documents and identity documents of the accused.
NIA has arrested ten accused in the case so far.