Kerala gold smuggling case accused remanded to judicial custody for 14 days

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Kerala gold smuggling case key accused Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair have been remanded to judicial custody for 14 days by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) court at Kochi on Sunday, July 12.

The duo will be shifted to COVID-19 centres as their coronavirus tests results are awaited. While Swapna is being shifted to Thrissur Sandeep has been taken to the cenre at Karukutty near Angamaly in Ernakulam district.

The two were presented before the NIA special judge P Krishnakumar. He agreed to hear the remand petition in his court despite being holiday in view of the importance of the case. The first information report of the NIA, which took over the investigation on Friday, July 10, has slapped charges under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) against the two accused.

The two, who were brought by road from Benguluru in the afternoon, were taken to the Aluva district hospital for the Covid test and health checkup. People had gathered at several points on the National Highway to see the accused and the youth activists of opposition parties staged protests in many places along the route and at NIA office in Kochi.

The case came to light after the customs officials at Thiruvananthapuram International Airport seized 30 kg of gold worth about Rs.15 crores from a diplomatic bag addressed to the United Arab Emirates consulate at Thiruvananthapuram.

The investigation following the arrest of former consulat PRO Sarith Nair reveaked that the smuggling racket were engaged in smuggling gold for the last couple of years using the diplomatic immunity as a cover. The racket is said to have smuggled gold in this manner eight times before.

Image Credit: Kerala Kaumudi

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