Thiruvananthapuram: In a sensational revelation, the NIA, in the charge-sheet registered in the Kerala gold smuggling case, aimed to assert that the fraud was a plot to mutilate India’s economy and could have profound repercussions for the financial and monetary security of the country. In the charge sheet accessed, the federal investigation agency said that blamed Swapna Prabha Suresh and Sandeep Nair had plotted to harm financial strength in India and to destabilize the economy by smuggling an immense amount of gold from abroad. The investigation also disclosed that PFI activist Muhammad Ali had functioned as a smuggling page.
The NIA filed the charge sheet against 20 people before a special court for their involvement in smuggling 30 kg of gold worth Rs 14.82 crore in prudent baggage into Kerala. The investigation also showed that smuggling was accomplished during the lockdown period as the economic situation of the country was vulnerable at that time. The federal investigation agency also asserted that profits of smuggling were utilized for funding terrorism through various means.
The NIA did not include the name of M Sivasankar, the ex-Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, as a charged in the case but the agency has not provided clean chit to him as yet. The NIA probe also disclosed that the charged had deliberately plotted 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 handled to delegates at the Consulate General of the UAE in Thiruvananthapuram.
According to call logs, Swapna Prabha Suresh, an ex-employee of the UAE consulate and charged in the case, had made 16 calls to Sivasankar between April to June. The charge sheet also showed that Ramees KT, the primary accused in the case, had intended to smuggle more gold from countries such as Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia. All the blamed have been arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), an NIA representative said.
The NIA filed the case on July 10, 2020, after the confiscation of around 30 kg of gold worth Rs 14.82 crore on July 5, 2020, at Trivandrum International Airport by Customs Commissionerate, Kochi, from the import cargo managed to the Charge D’ Affaires at the Consulate General of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Thiruvananthapuram. So far, 21 charged have been arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the lawsuit, while eight are absconding.