Kerala Gold Smuggling: Need to probe abroad to unearth full racket says NIA
Kochi, Aug 24: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) probing the sensational gold smuggling case in Kerala has said an investigation has to be conducted abroad to unearth all conspirators in the crime.
It has also said steps have been taken for issuing Blue corner notices against four accused currently in UAE through Interpol to secure them for investigation.
"Investigation revealed that the absconding accused Fazil Fareed (A3), Rabins Hameed (A 10), Sidhiqul Akbar (A 15), and Ahammed Kutty (A 20) are in UAE.Therefore, NBW (non-bailable warrant) against them has been obtained from this NIA court.
Steps have been taken for issuing Blue notices against them through Interpol to secure them for investigation," the agency said in a report submitted in the special NIA court here on Friday.
A Blue corner notice is issued to locate or obtain information about a person in a criminal investigation.
In the report, the NIA reiterated that the investigation discloses that the accused had earned profit from the offence and proceeds of smuggling could be used for terror funding.
It said the investigation conducted so far revealed that the accused had conspired and sourced gold in large quantities from abroad on multiple occasions earlier and smuggled it through various airports, especially in Kerala.
Investigation has to be conducted abroad and interrogation into roles of high profile individuals and Consulate officials is also necessary to unearth all conspirators in this crime, the NIA said.
It said the accused have used various social media platforms to communicate with co-accused and suspects for committing the offence.
The seized digital devices of the accused have been forwarded to C-DAC Thiruvananthapuram for cyber forensic analysis.
"Investigation had also revealed the larger conspiracy involving influential people both in India and abroad behind this crime and that the racket has already transported bulk quantities of gold from Middle East through diplomatic baggage and sold it clandestinely to various people, with the intention of threatening economic security of India," the NIA said.
The NIA submitted the report seeking judicial custody of four arrested accused-- Mohammed Anwar, Hamzath, Samju and Hamjad---in connection with the case.
The court allowed the agency's plea and sent them to judicial remand yesterday.
The NIA said it is clear that accused had conspired to damage the monetary stability of India by destabilising the economy by smuggling large quantity of gold from abroad and it is suspected that they had used the proceeds of smuggling for financing terrorism through various means.
"Their deliberate act of using the diplomatic baggage of UAE as a cover for smuggling may have serious repercussions to the friendly relations with UAE and it is prejudicial to the monetary and economic security of India as well.
Further, the involvement of other people in this crime as well as the end users and beneficiaries of this crime need to be ascertained," the agency said.
Gold worth nearly Rs 15 crore was seized by the Customs at the airport in the state capital on July 5 and the NIA was entrusted with the probe after the state government asked the Centre to order an appropriate investigation.
Other central agencies including the Customs and Enforcement Directorate are also probing the matter.
The NIA has already arrested three key accused-- Swapna Suresh, Sandeep Nair and Sarith-- in connection with the case.