NIA has arrested 12 persons in the Kerala Gold Smuggling case

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The consignment linked with this case was found camouflaged in diplomatic baggage from UAE that is exempted from inspection as per the Vienna Convention. The consignment was to be received by Sarith P.S. (accused 1), who had worked in the UAE Consulate earlier as Public Relations Officer. Initial investigation by Customs Department has revealed that Sarith P.S. had received multiple such consignments earlier as well.

Thiruvananthapuram: With the arrest of two more persons earlier this week (Monday 3 August 2020) the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested 12 persons till now in the Kerala Gold Smuggling Case.

In the last week of July and first week of August, continuing the investigation in the gold smuggling case, NIA made 6 fresh arrests and conducted searches at half a dozen places. On 30 July, NIA arrested two accused persons – Jalal A. M., resident of Uvattupuzha in Ernakulam distirct of Kerala and Said Alavi E. @ Bawa, a resiedent of Vegara in Malappuram district of Kerala for conspiring with already arrested accused Ramees K. T. and for smuggling gold through diplomatic baggage addressed to the UAE Consulate at Thiruvananthapuram.

On 31 July, 2020, two more accused persons Mohammed Shafi P. of Ayikkarapadi in Malappuram district and Abdu P. T. of Kottakkal in Malappuram district in Kerala were arrested for playing similar roles in the crime.

On 1 August, 2020, NIA arrested two more accused persons – Muhammad Ali Ebrahim and Muhammad Ali, both residents of Muvattupuzha in Ernakulam district of Kerala, after investigation revealed that they were also a part of the conspiracy besides aiding and assisting arrested accused Jalal A. M. in collecting the smuggled gold from Ramees K. T. at Thiruvananthapuram and distributing the contraband amongst other conspirators. Muhammad Al, son of Abdul Kader, is a member of the Popular Front of India and was earlier charge-sheeted by Kerala Police in Professor’s Palm Chopping Case but got acquitted after trial in 2015.

On 2 August, 2020, NIA also conducted searches at 6 places i.e. at the residences of accused Jalal A. M. & Rabins Hameed in Ernakulam district, and at the residences of Ramees K. T., Mohammed Shafi, Said Alavi and Abdu P. T. in Malappuram district. During searches, 2 hard disks, 1 tablet PC, 8 mobile phones, 6
SIM cards, 1 Digital Video Recorder and 5 DVDs were seized besides various documents including bank passbooks, credit/ debit cards, travel documents and identity documents of the accused.

On 10 July, the National Investigation Agency had registered the FIR in the Kerala Gold Smuggling Case (RC-02/2020/NIA/KOC) under sections 16, 17 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, against 04 accused persons – Sarith P.S., Swapna Prabha Suresh, both residents of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, Fazil Fareed of Ernakulum, Kerala and Sandeep Nair also from Thiruvananthapuram and others in connection with the seizure of 30 kg of 24 carat gold worth Rs.14.82 crores at Trivandrum International Airport on 5 July 2020 by the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate, Cochin.

The consignment linked with this case was found camouflaged in diplomatic baggage from UAE that is exempted from inspection as per the Vienna Convention. The consignment was to be received by Sarith P.S. (accused 1), who had worked in the UAE Consulate earlier as Public Relations Officer. Initial investigation by Customs Department has revealed that Sarith P.S. 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 has taken up the investigation of the case.

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