Kerala gold smuggling case: NIA confirms arrest of two in Dubai
CPI(M) state secretary’s son has been let off after 6-hour grilling, no clean chit.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) probing the Kerala gold smuggling case on Tuesday informed a special court in Kochi that two prime accused in the case, Faisal Fareed and Rabbins Hameed, are under custody of Dubai Police while blue corner notices were issued against four others.
Opposing the bail plea of some of the accused, the NIA said the case was in a crucial phase and bail to them, at this juncture, will affect the ongoing investigation. The court had criticised the agency on Monday and sought evidence for terrorism charges against the accused. All 30 accused in the case were charged under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
Faisal Fareed, who reportedly sent 30 kilograms of gold in a consignment to the United Arab Emirates consulate camouflaged as diplomatic baggage, was the third accused in the case filed by the NIA. Two months back, an NIA team had visited the UAE and reportedly questioned them in jail. It said, Hameed also played a key role in smuggling and reiterated its charge that a major portion of proceeds were diverted to fund anti-national activities. Both arrested in Dubai were also active in hawala transactions, it said.
During the investigation, the agencies also found that more than 400 kilograms of gold was smuggled into the country using their proximity with some of the former employees of the consulate. P Sarith Kumar and Swapna Suresh, two former employees of the consulate, are first and second accused in the case. Faisal and Hameed reported to have arranged gold that was smuggled through a diplomatic channel.
This is the first time when the UAPA was invoked in a smuggling case. Some of the accused contended that it was only an economic offence and the UAPA can’t be imposed on them and they were under custody for more than three months. The court will take up their bail plea again on Wednesday after examining the NIA’s reply.
Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has grilled Bineesh Kodiyeri, son of CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, for more than six hours in its Bengaluru office in connection with drug seizure case. He is yet to be given a clean chit and will be summoned again after examining his statements, a senior officer who is part of the probe team said.
Trouble began for Kodiyeri after Bengaluru drug racket-accused Anoop Mohammad gave a statement to the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) mentioning his name. He said Bineesh Kodiyeri, second son of Balakrishnan, had helped him a lot in his “business venture”. Later, his name also figured prominently in Mohammad’s call list. There are reports stating that Rs 30 lakh came in Mohammad’s account in one year which he allegedly used for drug purchase. During the investigation, agencies also found that smuggling and drug seizure cases were linked.