Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 5
The anti-terror probe agency NIA today said it has filed charge sheets against 20 accused, including Swapna Suresh, Sarith and KT Rameez, in the most-talked about case of gold smuggling through diplomatic channels at Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.
The charge sheet was filed by the investigating officer Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) Radhakrishna Pillai before the Special NIA Court in Kochi under various section of stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevetion) Act – UAPA, as Sandeep Nair, initially an accused, has turned out to be an approver in the case.
According to officials in the agency the charge sheet stands valid under UAPA, as it was submitted within 180 days of the first arrest made by NIA in the case, which has caught national attention and witnessed probe by multiple central agencies.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that around five accused, including Sandeep Nair, have turned approvers in the case. “During ensuing investigation, thirty-one more persons, who had conspired and financed gold smuggling besides facilitated the disposal of the contraband and transfer of proceeds thereof to the UAE through hawala channels, for purchasing and smuggling more gold, with the intention of threatening the economic security of India, were arraigned as accused in the case. Till now, twenty-one accused persons have been arrested in the case by NIA, while eight accused persons are absconding,” the NIA said in a statement.
NIA said the investigation has revealed that the accused had knowingly conspired since June 2019, raised funds and smuggled gold from UAE, between November 2019 and June 2020, around 167 kg of yellow metal, through the import cargo addressed to diplomats at the Consulate General of UAE in Thiruvananthapuram.
“Significantly the main accused in this case had also planned to smuggle more gold from countries like Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia. Investigation continues against the absconding accused persons and others who had facilitated this crime,” the NIA statement read.
The case was first registered by NIA on July 10, 2020 against Sarith, Swapna, Faisal Fareed, Sandeep Nair and others under UAPA consequent to the seizure of around 30 kg of gold worth Rs 14.82 crore on July 5, 2020 at Trivandrum International Airport by Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate, Cochin.
The gold was seized from the import cargo addressed to the Charge D’ Affaires at the Consulate General of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Thiruvananthapuram. Absconding accused Swapna Prabha Suresh and Sandeep Nair were later arrested by NIA from Bengaluru on July 11.
Other accused who have been named in the charge sheet include Jalal A M, of Ernakulam, Mohammed Shafi P of Malappuram district, Saidalavi E of Malappuram, Abdu PT of Malappuram, Muhammedali Ebrahim of Ernakulam district, Muhammedali of Ernakulam, Sharafuddeen K T of Malappuram, Mohammed Shafeeq A of Malappuram, Hamzath Abdulsalam of Malappuram, Samju T M of Kozhikode, Hamjad Ali K of Malappuram, Jifsal CV of Kozhikode, Aboobacker P of Malappuram, Muhammed Abdu Shameem KV of Kozhikode, Abdul Hameed of Malappuram and Shamshudeen of Kozhikode.