Kerala gold smuggling: IT sleuths question accused at NIA office
New Delhi, July 14: Income Tax officials are set to question the accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case.
A team of the IT reached the office of the National Investigation Agency at Kochi, where the accused are lodged. They are currently in NIA custody, following an order of the court.
The IT sleuths would question, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair.
Meanwhile, the probe being conducted by the NIA found that the accused had faked documents of the UAE consulate. The accused had fake seals with the emblem of the UAE Consulate and were using the same to smuggle gold through diplomatic channels, the NIA also said.
The purpose was also to raise funds for terror, the agency has learnt. On Friday, the NIA registered an FIR in the Kerala Gold Smuggling Case.
The case has been registered under sections 16, 17 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, against 04 accused persons including Swapna Prabha Suresh.
The case relates to the seizure of 30 kg of 24 carat gold worth Rs.14.82 crores at Trivandrum International Airport.
The aforesaid consignment was found camouflaged in diplomatic baggage from UAE that is exempted from inspection as per the Vienna Convention. The said consignment was to be received by Sarith P S who had worked in the UAE Consulate earlier as Public Relations Officer. Initial investigation by Customs Department has revealed that Sarith had received multiple such consignments earlier as well.
As the case pertains to smuggling of large quantity of gold into India from offshore locations threatening the economic stability and national security of the country, it amounts to a terrorist act as stated in section 15 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
Further, as the case has national and international linkages and as the initial enquiries have revealed that the proceeds of smuggled gold could be used for financing of terrorism in India, NIA had taken up the investigation of the case.