NIA takes up probe in Kerala gold smuggling case, registers its personal FIR

Mukesh Ranjan

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 10

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday took up the investigation into Kerala gold smuggling case, registering an FIR below numerous sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) towards 4 accused individuals.

Officials within the NIA mentioned within the FIR, the company has named Sarith PS, Swapna Prabha Suresh, and Sandeep Nair and Fazil Fareed. The first three are residents of Thiruvananthapuram, whereas las one lives in Ernakulum.

The officers mentioned: “All the accused have been charged under Sections 16, 17 and 18 of the UAPA in connection with the seizure of 30 kg of 24-carat gold worth Rs14.82 crores at Trivandrum International Airport on July 5, 2020, by the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate, Cochin.”

The NIA in a press release mentioned that because the case pertains to smuggling of a giant amount of gold into India from offshore areas “threatening the economic stability and national security of the country”, it amounted to “a terrorist act as stated in Section 15 of the UAPA”.

It additional mentioned because the alleged crime 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, the NIA has taken up the investigation of the case”.

“The smuggled gold consignment was found camouflaged in diplomatic baggage from UAE that is exempted from inspection as per the Vienna Convention. It was to be received by Sarith PS, who had worked in the UAE Consulate earlier as Public Relations Officer (PRO). The initial investigation by Customs department has revealed that Sarith had received multiple such consignments earlier as well,” the NIA mentioned.

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