KOCHI: More details on the wide network of the racket involved in the gold smuggling case through the diplomatic channel has come to light after one of the key accused KT Rameez, who is in National Investigation Agency (NIA) custody, spilled the beans about his stay at a hotel in Thiruvananthapuram and the role of a few other Tamil Nadu-based agents. The NIA is also verifying the statement given by Sivasankar’s chartered accountant to the Customs on the bank lockers in the name of Swapna Suresh.
A source said that Rameez did meet second accused Swapna and third accused Sandeep Nair a couple of times during the first three months of 2020 while he was here. The NIA officials are also probing whether former IT Secretary M Sivasankar had met Ramees while the latter was in the state capital. “A senior NIA official from Hyderabad is camping in the city to oversee the progress of the investigation and preparation of the case dairy. The NIA team has been able to make considerable progress in the probe after getting vital information from Rameez,” said an officer.
Meanwhile, based on the inputs provided by Rameez, the NIA has started verifying details with a couple of persons from different places in Tamil Nadu mainly Chennai. Records were also verified at the Kochi airport on Saturday to check claims that the racket had smuggled gold through Kochi also.
Customs officials said the probe details reveal that Rameez used to handle the smuggled gold and he had established a network for transporting the smuggled gold across the country. “Apart from having a network with a few persons in Kozhikode and Malappuram, Ramees used to have links with a few groups in Tamil Nadu. Each consignment of gold was routed through different networks to avoid detection,” the officials said.Swapna and Sandeep were produced before the court and remanded in judicial custody till August 21.