NIA gets custody of prime accused in Kerala gold smuggling case for 8 days
The NIA submitted in the special court that the accused forged the seal and emblem of UAE Embassy to smuggle the gold.Updated: Jul 13, 2020 17:23 IST
A Special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Kochi on Monday sent Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, key accused in the Kerala gold smuggling racket, to the agency’s custody for eight days.
The NIA submitted in the court that the accused forged the seal and emblem of UAE Embassy to commit the crime. The NIA maintained that the smuggled gold was to be used not for jewellery but terror activities, ANI reported.
The two key accused were earlier remanded to custody by the NIA court on Sunday, a day after they were taken into custody in Bengaluru.
The two had been on the run since the Customs busted a gold smuggling racket on July 5 with the seizure of 30 kg gold from a chartered flight from the UAE that was carrying an consignment for the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram. The racket allegedly used diplomatic channels to smuggle the gold.
Suresh, a former employee of the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, and Nair are among the four people booked by the NIA in the smuggling racket.
The NIA which was ordered by the Union home ministry to probe the case, had on Friday registered an FIR under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. It said the case has international links with initial inquiries revealing the proceeds of the smuggled gold valued at Rs 15 crore could be used for terror financing in India.
Suresh, Sarith PS and Nair of Thiruvananthapuram and Fazil Fareed of Ernakulam have been arraigned as accused. While Sarith was arrested by the Customs, Fareed is still at large.
The gold smuggling racket has put the Kerala government under intense fire from the opposition with the Congress-led United Democratic Front on Monday deciding to bring in a no-confidence motion and seek Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s resignation alleging that his office was linked to the racket.