NIA suspects terror-funding in Kerala gold smuggling case

Ramees, an accused in the Thiruvananthapuram gold smuggling case, being brought by the Customs to be produced before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences), Ernakulam, on Monday.  

The proceeds from the gold smuggling case might be used for terror funding, according to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

The agency submitted before the NIA special court, Kochi, that it had reasons to believe that the gold was not smuggled for jewellery groups as commonly perceived. Some terror groups were dealing with gold as it had become difficult for them to handle cash, it submitted.

Also read: Kerala gold smuggling case: Swapna Suresh says she acted under instructions from UAE Consulate

The NIA came up with these explanations on specific questions from the court on how the case would attract the provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) slapped on the accused. The court also sought to know the basis on which the accused had been charged under UAPA.

Also read: Gold smuggling case: Kerala CM writes to PM for probe

The agency invoked Section 16 and 17 of the UAPA, which prescribes punishment for raising funds for terrorist activities, against the accused Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair. It sought the custody of the two for probing “the terrorist angle” and suspected terrorism funding in the case.

The agency submitted that the accused had forged documents pertaining to the UAE consulate to send gold through diplomatic baggage. The accused had smuggled in gold on three occasions using the forged documents, it submitted.

The NIA also produced the case diary before the court. The court sent the two accused to the custody of the agency till 11 a.m. on July 21.

Nair complained to the court that no enquiries were being carried out on the role of one Rashid, who had arranged visa and other documents to facilitate gold smuggling from the UAE.

He submitted that he was being unnecessarily victimised by the investigation agencies.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 1:39:02 AM |

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