More persons are being arrested by the National Investigation agency (NIA) in the high-profile gold smuggling case which has turned into a big political controversy in Kerala. Two more persons were arrested taking the total number of held in the case to 12.
The NIA arrested Sharafudeen, a resident of Malappuram district and Shafeeq from Palakkad district and they were produced before a special NIA court in Ernakulam, according to reports by PTA. They were remanded to the agency's custody for interrogation for four days, reports added.
Ramees K T, another accused who was held earlier revealed that he was aided by Sharafudeen and Shafeeq in collecting the smuggled gold from Sandeep Nair, one of the key accused at Thiruvananthapuram and further distributing the contraband among other co-conspirators, adds the PTI report quoting the NIA official.
Gold smuggling in diplomatic baggage addressed to UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram has rocked Kerala and the case has cost senior IAS officer M Sivasankar, secretary to chief minister’s office and state IT secretary, his job.
The top official, who had close links with Swapna Suresh, accused in the case, was suspended from service and the NIA quizzed him for long hours by the NIA officials as part of the probe.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has handed over the case to the NIA “considering the chances for its serious ramifications on national security”. The premier investigation agency is probing the case under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The scam, worth multi crores came out when the Customs officials at Thiruvananthapuram international airport seized 30 kilograms of gold from an air cargo baggage addressed to UAE consulate. The gold was smuggled in a chartered flight. It was for the first time that smuggled gold is being seized from diplomatic baggage in the state.
The investigation agency had earlier arrested Swapna Suresh, a former employee of UAE consulate, Sarith and Sandeep Nair and more arrests were recorded later....