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Kerala Gold Smuggling Case : NIA To Take Over Probe From Customs

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
9 July 2020 2:20 PM GMT
Kerala Gold Smuggling Case : NIA To Take Over Probe From Customs
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The Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday permitted the National Investigation Agency(NIA) to investigate the case relating to smuggling of 30 kilograms of gold through Thiruvananthapuram airport using diplomatic cargo dispatched to UAE Consulate at the state capital.

The MHA spokesperson said that NIA probe was felt necessary "as the organised smuggling operation may have serious implications for national security".



At present, the Customs Preventive Commissionerate, Cochin, is carrying out the investigation in the case registered for offences under Section 104(6)(c) and 135 of the Customs Act 1962. The smuggled stash of gold is approximately worth Rs 15 crores.

The Customs department has arrested Sarit Kumar, who used to work as a Public Relations Officer at the Consulate, in connection with the case. Two suspects, Sandeep Nair and Swapna Suresh, are on the run.

The case has snowballed into a political controversy due to Swapna Suresh's alleged links with M Sivasankar IAS, who was both the Principal Secretary to the office of Chief Minister and Secretary to the Department of Information Technology.

Following the controversy, Sivasankar was removed from both the posts.

Suresh has moved the High Court of Kerala seeking pre-arrest bail, stating that she has no connection with the smuggled gold and that she was only following the instructions of the UAE Consulate while contacting the Customs officials in connection with the delivery of the diplomatic cargo.

Her bail application is listed before the Court tomorrow.

Kerala Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, had earlier written to Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, seeking "effective and coordinated investigation into this incident by central agencies" in the matter.



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