Monday, November 09, 2020

Kerala gold smuggling case: 4 of 5 new accused living in UAE, NIA seeks Interpol's help

New Delhi: NIA on Monday charged five more people in connection with the Kerala gold smuggling case. They were identified as accused in the court by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) which is probing the matter at the directions of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Four out of the five people arraigned as accused in the case are currently in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The NIA has approached Interpol to trace these individuals and notify Indian authorities of their whereabouts.

With the inclusion of five more people, the total number of accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case now stands at 35. Out of these 35 accused, 21 have been arrested by the NIA so far.

The matter first came to light on July 5 of this year when Customs seized 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crore concealed in diplomatic baggage at the Trivandrum International Airport. An inquiry revealed that the diplomatic baggage in question was addressed to the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.

As a result of central government's intervention into the matter, the Kerala gold smuggling case was transferred to the NIA. Investigators familiar with the case found that several such diplomatic consignments were spared from customs inspections at Kerala airports over the past one year.

Among those accused in the case are former UAE Consulate employees Swapna Suresh, Sarith Kumar and one Sandeep Nair. Also accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case is M Sivasankar, former principal secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

09/11/20 India Today

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