One more person arrested in Kerala gold smuggling case

South India

 One more person has been arrested in the high profile Kerala gold smuggling case, news agency ANI reported.


According to the Customs officials, Hamzath Abdu Salam, who hails from Manjeri in Malappuram district, was arrested. 

He will be produced before the economic offences court in Kochi today.

According to the officials, Salam spent his money on buying gold which was smuggled. 

The probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has unearthed how the gold smuggling racket used the COVID-19 induced lockdown to smuggle large quantities of gold from abroad.

According to the NIA remand report submitted in the court in Kochi on Tuesday, the fourth accused Sandeep Nair during interrogation revealed how the gang used the COVID-19 situation to smuggle in gold. 

Three key accused -- Sarith PS, Swapna Suresh, and Sandeep Nair -- are currently under the custody of the NIA.

A special NIA court in Kochi on Tuesday extended the National Investigation Agency (NIA) custody of Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, both accused in the high-profile Kerala gold smuggling case, till July 24.

On July 18, a team of the NIA had taken Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair to various locations, including their residences, in Thiruvananthapuram for evidence collection.

The NIA, which was handed over the probe in the matter related to smuggling of gold through diplomatic channels in the state, has charged the two accused -- Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair -- with offences under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

On July 17, the special court had sent another prime accused in the matter – Sarith PS – to seven-day custody of the NIA. 

On July 6, Sarith, an accused in the case, who had previously worked as a public relations officer (PRO) in UAE Consulate-General's office in Thiruvananthapuram, was arrested and remanded to 14 days. He had confessed to Swapna’s involvement in the case.

The matter had come to light on July 5 after the Customs Department seized 30 kg gold worth Rs 15 crore concealed in diplomatic consignment at the Thiruvananthapuram international airport.

Swapna went into hiding on July 5 after a diplomatic baggage addressed to the UAE Consulate was seized by customs officials

Two key accused, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, were taken into custody by the NIA from Bengaluru on July 11.


With inputs from Agency

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