Kerala

Gold smuggling case: second accused Swapna Suresh claimed high connections, says NIA

Swapna Prabha Suresh at the NIA special court in Thiruvananthapuram.

Swapna Prabha Suresh at the NIA special court in Thiruvananthapuram.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Swapna Suresh, the second accused in the diplomatic gold smuggling case, has claimed that she had personal acquaintance with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in her official capacity as the representative of UAE Consular General, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) informed the Special Court.

The accused had also given statements that she had high connections with top bureaucrats and the office of the Chief Minister. She had also admitted to having acquaintance with top police officers in connection with the arrangements made for their trainings in traffic reforms in UAE. At some point of time, the accused had planned to settle down in Tanzania along with Sandeep Nair. The accused was involved in a network of highly influential persons in bureaucracy, police and the consulate. She had also deep connections with persons involved in the smuggling of gold in large quantities. The involvement of the accused in a large network of dubious elements need to be probed further, Assistant Solicitor General P. Vijayakumar informed the NIA Special Court, while opposing the bail application of the accused.

Investigation into the large amount that was mobilised abroad for the procurement of gold, its smuggling, and circulation and encashment needed to be further investigated. More accused would have to be roped in regarding the local marketing of the contraband, the NIA informed the court.

The NIA submitted that the money collected through the smuggling of gold was believed to have been used for anti-national and terrorist activities, which attracted the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prohibition) Act.

Arguing for the petitioner, Geo Paul, her counsel, submitted that the NIA could not gather any evidences in the case to prove the terrorism angle for the case. The accused was in the custody of the NIA for more than 25 days. However, the agency could not unearth any evidence to prove its charges. The gold that was recovered from her was her ornaments and not gold bar or contraband gold, he submitted.

The court posted the case for August 10 for orders.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2020 12:37:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/gold-smuggling-case-second-accused-swapna-suresh-claimed-high-connections-says-nia/article32284234.ece

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