June 2021
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Kerala News
Swapna Suresh&other accused conspired to destabilise country''s economy by smuggling gold: NIA
Kochi: Swapna Suresh, Sandeep Nair and others had conspired together and separately at various places in Kerala to damage the country''s monetary stability by destabilising the economy by smuggling large quantities of gold from abroad, the NIA said on Tuesday. In a report submitted in the Special NIA Court in Kochi, the agency, which is probing the sensational Kerala gold smuggling case, also said it is suspected that the accused had used the proceeds of smuggling for financing terrorism through various means.

The accused deliberately used the diplomatic baggage of UAE as a cover to transact illegal business and it may have serious repercussions in India''s diplomatic relations with the UAE government and is prejudicial to the monetary and economic security of India as well, said the NIA, which carried out custodial interrogation of Suresh and Nair. As part of its probe, the National Investigation Agency brought another accused Sarith to Thiruvananthapuram and conducted searches at his house and the rented flat of Swapna Suresh to gather evidence In a related development, Kerala police suspended Jay Ghosh, the former gunman of UAE Consulate who allegedly tried to end his life, pending an enquiry.

"His action was unbecoming of a policeman and brought a bad reputation to the police department," City police commissioner Balram Kumar Upadhyay told PTI. Meanwhile,the NIA custody of Suresh and Nair was extended till July 24 by the Special Court here on Tuesday, even as prime accused Swapna Suresh moved a plea, seeking bail claiming innocence. Suresh and another accused Sandeep Nair were brought to the special NIA court in Kochi as the eight-day custody period granted to the National Investigation Agency ended today. Considering the agency''s plea seeking extension of their custody, the court extended it till Friday. In its report, the NIA said Suresh has admitted that she along with Nair, Sarith, who is a key accused arrested in the case, and other associates hatched a conspiracy at different locations in Thiruvananthapuram and had received the proceeds of the crime in cash through Sarith.

The proceeds of crime received by Suresh have been invested with various banking and non-banking channels including safe deposit lockers in banks. The details of the accounts have been collected and investigation on the disclosure is in progress, the investigation agency said. During the investigation, it was revealed that one Ramees K T is one of the kingpins in the case, NIA said and added it was making efforts to get custody of Ramees, who was arrested by the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate last week. According to the NIA, Ramees, who insisted on smuggling gold in large quantities and maximum numbers during the lockdown period as the financial position of the country was weak, commanded and always moved with a group of persons. Besides, he had contacts abroad.

In her plea seeking bail, Suresh alleged that she was implicated in the crime "on a wild imagination without any basis" and the case was the offshoot of the political rivalry between the state and central governments, triggered by the colourful and fictitious stories aired by the media. She claimed that there was no prima facie evidence to attract an offence under Sections 15, 16 and 17 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the case being investigated by the NIA. Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair were arrested by the NIA from Bengaluru on July 11. Central agencies have arrested 15 people in connection with the seizure of gold worth nearly Rs 15 crore from a "diplomatic baggage" at the Thiruvananthapuram International airport on July 5.

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