In a shocking revelation, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that said that proceeds from the Kerala gold smuggling case may have been funelled in to funding terrorist activities. NIA also disclosed that the around 150kg of gold was smuggled in to Kerala over the past 10 months.
The NIA Court on Monday (Jul 13) remanded key suspects Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair in the agency’s custody till July 21. NIA sought the custody of the two for probing “the terrorist angle” and suspected terror funding in the case.
The agency is likely to invoke provisions of Section 16 and 17 of the UAPA, which prescribes punishment for raising funds for terrorist activities, against the accused Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair.
The Kochi-based NIA court was informed that Swapna Suresh and Sarith Nair, who were previously employees of the UAE Consulate, learnt about movement of the diplomatic baggage and used it as modus operandi to smuggle gold
The agency informed the NIA special court that gold was not smuggled for jewellery groups as commonly perceived but it was possible that few terror groups were dealing with gold as it had become difficult for transact in cash.
During the court proceeding, one of accused Sandeep Nair claimed that the consignment was addressed to a UAE diplomat named Rashid Al Sheimeili. He questioned why the diplomat’s role is not being probed.
The arrest of K T Rameez, a Malappuram-based businessman, by a customs special investigation team on Sunday (Mar 13) in connection with the gold smuggling case, is expected to further expedite the investigation.
Rameez, believed to be a lynchpin of the gold smuggling racket in Kerala, was nabbed from his residence at Vettathoor near Perinthalmanna in the wee hours of Sunday(Jul 12).
According to custom official, Rameez’s arrest was crucial to the progress of the investigation in to the gold smuggling case that has rocked the state with allegations emerging that another key player in the smuggling racket, Swapan Sundar, had close ties to the office of the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Rameez is said to be an investor and a distributor of smuggled gold in the state and custom officials are hoping that his custodial interrogation could provide furthers details of investors in the gold smuggling racket and key personnel involved in coordinating the smuggling, and the extent of involvement of Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair.
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