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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Kerala gold smuggling case: NIA raids six locations, Union minister fasts in protest against Vijayan govt

One of the men arrested on Saturday had earlier been booked in the 2010 case of a professor’s palm being chopped off. He was acquitted in 2015.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: August 2, 2020 8:37:46 pm
Kerala gold smuggling case, Kerala gold smuggling case arrests, NIA, swapna suresh, M Sivasankar, Kerala news, indian express Customs had seized over 30 kg gold, worth around Rs 15 crore, at the Thiruvananthapuram airport on July 5. (Picture for representation)

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested six more people in the Kerala gold smuggling case, an official said on Sunday.

The agency Sunday raised six places, including homes of the arrested accused, and seized hard disks, a computer, eight mobile phones, six SIM cards and various bank documents, an NIA official told news agency PTI.

With the latest arrests, 10 people have been apprehended in connection with the case, where gold was smuggled through diplomatic baggage addressed to the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.

On July 30, two men – Jalal A M of Ernakulam and Said Alavi E of Malappuram – were arrested for conspiring with another arrested accused Ramees K T, the NIA spokesperson said. On July 31, two more accused, Mohammed Shafi P and Abdu P T, both residents of Malappuram, were arrested.

On August 1, the NIA arrested two people – Ernakulam-residents Muhammad Ali Ebrahim and Muhammad Ali – after investigation revealed that they were part of the conspiracy, besides aiding and assisting Jalal A M in collecting the smuggled gold from Ramees K T in Thiruvananthapuram and distributing the contraband among other conspirators, the NIA official said.

Muhammad Ali is a member of the Popular Front of India and was earlier charge-sheeted by the Kerala Police in the case of a professor’s palm being chopped off in 2010. He was acquitted in 2015.

The NIA took over the probe into the case on July 10. Customs had seized over 30 kg gold, worth around Rs 15 crore, at the Thiruvananthapuram airport on July 5.

The case had touched the office of the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, after his Principal Secretary and the state IT Secretary, IAS officer M Sivasankar, was found to have links with a key accused, Swapna Suresh.

Sivasankar was questioned for nine hours by the NIA on Monday.

Union minister fasts to protest against CM Vijayan

Union Minister V Muraleedharan Sunday observed a day-long fast at his residence in New Delhi, demanding the resignation of CM Vijayan. The Minister of state for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs alleged the chief minister had allowed his office to be used by those who indulged in “anti-national activities and betrayed the nation.”

The BJP has been using the case to step up pressure on the Vijayan government.

“The Chief Minister has betrayed the country by giving away his office to those who indulged in anti-national activities. He must resign. The NIA took up the case after the Customs report that the accused persons have terror links,” Muraleedharan said.

The fast was “inaugurated” by BJP national general secretary P Muralidhar Rao.

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