Kerala gold smuggling case: Accused conspired to destabilise economy, finance terrorism, says NIA
In a report submitted in the Special NIA Court, the agency said that the accused had used the proceeds of smuggling to finance terrorism through various means.
The Nation Investigation Agency has put forth economic destabilisation as the primary motive in the Kerala gold smuggling case. The accused, Swapna Suresh, Sandeep Nair and others had conspired together and separately to damage the country's monetary stability by destabilising the economy, the agency said on Tuesday.
In a report submitted in the Special NIA Court, the agency also suspected that the accused had used the proceeds of smuggling to finance terrorism through various means.
The investigating body explained that the accused had deliberately used diplomatic baggage of UAE as a cover to transact illegal business. They did this with the knowledge that it may have serious repercussions in India's diplomatic relations with the UAE government, it said, adding that the crime was prejudicial to the monetary and economic security of India.
The agency added that Suresh has admitted that she along with Nair, Sarith and other associates conspired at different locations in Thiruvananthapuram, and had received cash proceeds of the crime through Sarith. Swapna also disclosed that the proceeds have been invested with various banking and non-banking channels including safe deposit lockers. The details of the accounts have been collected and investigation on the disclosure is in progress, the investigation agency said.
According to an India Today report, the agency has a record of Suresh's chats with the other accused and information regarding the diplomatic baggage in which the gold was smuggled and later seized by customs on July 5 at the Thiruvananthapuram airport. NIA, with help from CDAC Trivandrum is trying to retrieve few chats have been deleted.
NIA also added that it was making efforts to get the custody of Ramees KT, one of the kingpins in the case, who was arrested by the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate last week. It was Ramees who insisted on smuggling gold in large quantities during the lockdown period as the financial position of the country was weak, the report said.
The Special Court also took NIA’s request into account and extended the custody of Suresh and Nair till July 24, after the eight-day custody period granted to the National Investigation Agency ended.
However, in her plea seeking bail, Suresh alleged that she was implicated in the crime on a wild imagination and without any basis. She added that the case was the offshoot of the political rivalry between the state and central governments, triggered by the fictitious content aired by media.