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The National Investigative Agency (NIA) has reportedly recovered ₹1 crore in cash and almost ₹1 kg of gold from Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the sensational gold smuggling case that has wrecked Kerala’s politics.
In its remand report filed before an NIA Court, the agency had informed that the smuggled gold was kept in lockers and invested as deposits in several banks. The NIA stated that around ₹36.5 lakh were found in the bank locker of Swapna at Federal Bank in Thiruvananthapuram. The agency also said that around ₹64 lakh in cash and gold weighing 982.5 grams were found in SBI locker belonging to Swapna. It has also asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Income Tax Department to seize the gold and money. The agency is investigating if proceeds of the crime have been kept in other places too.
In her defence, Swapna’s lawyer claimed that the said money and gold was received by her in the form of gifts from a Sheikh during her marriage.
On Friday, the agency sought further extension of judicial custody of Swapna and two other accused, namely, Sandeep Nair and Sarith P S. The NIA is also seeking the custody of one KT Rameez of Malappuram who was arrested by the Customs for masterminding the entire racket. Reportedly, Rameez had suggested smuggling maximum gold amidst the Coronavirus lockdown. As per accused Sandeep Nair, Rameez had been involved in anti-national activities that could undermine the country’s security. The accused had also revealed their mode of communication and the role of other suspects in the case.
Swapna Suresh had ‘ties’ with the Kerala Government
In another stunning revelation, the phone call records of Swapna Suresh revealed that the accused was in regular touch with the Higher Education minister KT Jaleel. According to the Call Detail Record (CDR), KT Jaleel had made several calls to Swapna Suresh, the second accused in the well-structured smuggling racket, which is being probed by the NIA and Customs. The details revealed that the minister and Suresh exchanged several calls in the month of May and June. Jaleel’s two personal staff members were also in touch with Suresh.
Gold smuggling scandal linked to Anti-CAA riots
Earlier, central investigative agencies, under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), reportedly had been probing whether the proceeds from the gold smuggling case were used to fund protests against the humanitarian Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019. As per reports, a youth from Kerala was nabbed in UP in connection to the case. Reportedly, he had revealed critical information about the funding of these protests.
Speaking to the New Indian Express, an intelligence official informed that investigative agencies have found the connection of a few Keralites with organisations in the Gulf States, which funded the violent protests. “We’ve analysed the evidence, and gold smuggling is one of the fundraising sources,” the official claimed. NIA has also reportedly received tip-offs about the funding of anti-national activities through the gold smuggling racket.