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Wide network of hawala operators under scanner in Kerala Gold Smuggling case

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New Delhi, July 17: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is probing the possible terror links to Kerala Gold Smuggling case. Further, the NIA suspects that there was a wide network of hawala operators involved in this case and were helping the accuse move the money, officials part of the investigation tell OneIndia.

At the time of taking over the case, the NIA had said that the case was being booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act or UAPA as it suspected a terror angle to the case.

Wide network of hawala operators under scanner in Kerala Gold Smuggling case

Meanwhile, the Customs Department arrested two persons in connection with the case.

The arrested have been identified as Muhammad Anwar and Saidalvi. Both hail from Mallapuram district. The arrests came after the Customs conducted raids at multiple locations in Kerala earlier today.

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Raids were carried out at the Kerala State IT Infrastructure Limited, which falls under the IT Department. The raid lasted for more than an hour at the KSITL, where key accused Swapna Suresh used to work.

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A raid was carried out by the Customs as well at the flat where M Sivasankar, the former principal secretary to the Kerala Chief Minister used to reside. The Customs suspects that the plan pertaining to the smuggling was hatched in this flat.

It may be recalled that the Customs had questioned Sivasankar for nearly 9 hours at the Customs House.

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.

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