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Kearala Gold Smuggling: NIA files charge sheet, Sandeep Nair turns approver

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New Delhi, Jan 05: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday submitted its charge sheet against 20 accused in the Kerala Gold Smuggling Case at special court. Swapna Suresh, PS Sarith and KT Ramees have been named accused in the charge sheet submitted.

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"Accused smuggled from UAE about 167 kg gold through import cargo addressed to diplomats at Consulate General of UAE in Trivandrum," said the NIA in chargesheet.

"Main accused had also planned to smuggle more from countries like Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia," it added.

Ramees K T, Jalal A M, Mohammed Shafi P, Saidalavi E, Abdu P T, Rabins Hameed, Muhammedali Ebrahim, Muhammedali, Sharafuddeen K T, Mohammed Shafeeq A, Hamzath Abdulsalam, Samju T M, Hamjad Ali K, Jifsal C V, Aboobacker P, Muhammed Abdu Shameem K V, Abdul Hameed resident and Shamshudeen have also been named in the chargesheet.

The NIA investigation revealed that the accused had knowingly conspired since June 2019, raised funds and smuggled around 167 kg of gold into the country from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) between November 2019 and June 2020 through the import cargo addressed to diplomats at the Consulate General of the UAE in Thiruvananthapuram.

Meanwhile, another accused in the case, Sandeep Nair has been named approver.

The NIA had arrested the prime accused in the case, Swapna Suresh and her associate Sandeep Nair, from Bengaluru on July 11.

Sarith P S, a former employee of the UAE consulate in Kerala, was arrested by the Customs department after the gold was seized.

The probe found that the accused Sarith P S, Swapna Suresh, Faisal Fareed and Sandeep Nair "indulged" in illegal smuggling of gold to India and huge amount of proceeds of crime were generated.

The case emerged on July 5 when gold, weighing over 30 kg, was seized by the Customs department from the "diplomatic baggage" that had landed by air cargo at the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport from the Gulf.

The seized gold is stated to be worth Rs 14.82 crore. It was "camouflaged as diplomatic baggage to the UAE Consulate, which has immunity from checking at airport as per the Vienna convention."

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