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NIA: Smugglers planned to bring in maximum gold during lockdown

The NIA probe into the smuggling of gold through the diplomatic channel has found that the accused were attempting to sneak in maximum quantity during the lockdown.

Published: 22nd July 2020 06:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd July 2020 06:34 AM   |  A+A-

The NIA team, along with gold smuggling case accused Sarith Kumar, leaving a residential apartment near Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram after evidence collection on Tuesday | B P Deepu

Express News Service

KOCHI: The NIA probe into the smuggling of gold through the diplomatic channel has found that the accused were attempting to sneak in maximum quantity during the lockdown. This was stated in a report filed at the NIA court here on Tuesday.As per the report, Sandeep Nair confessed that K T Rameez of Malappuram asked him to make the most of the pandemic situation.“Sandeep Nair stated that Rameez insisted on smuggling gold in large quantities during lockdown as the financial position of the country is weak. Rameez commands, always moves with a group of persons and has contacts abroad,” the report stated. NIA will arraign Rameez, who masterminded the smuggling of gold through diplomatic baggage, as an accused soon.

Customs, which arrested Rameez last week, received his custody for five days. It was revealed that the gang smuggled 27kg of gold on June 24 and 26 through the same channel.NIA in its report said a Digital Video Record (DVR) was recovered from one of the houses taken on rent by Sandeep. The DVR contains details of meetings of the accused as part of hatching a conspiracy to smuggle gold. The DVR was seized and submitted before the court. 

‘Swapna invested proceeds of crime in banking channels’

After the smuggled gold was seized in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5, second accused Swapna Suresh and Sandeep moved to Ernakulam. Swapna’s family which accompanied her, stayed at four different locations in Ernakulam before moving to Bengaluru on July 8. They were arrested by the NIA team from a hotel at Bengaluru on July 11.Swapna revealed to NIA that conspiracy to smuggle gold was hatched at different locations, including Thiruvananthapuram. They received the proceeds of crime in cash from Sarith.

“Swapna disclosed that the proceeds of the crime have been invested with various banking and non-banking channels, including safe deposit lockers in banks. The details of accounts have been collected and investigation on the disclosure is in progress,” stated  the report.

NIA in its report stated that six mobile phones and two laptops were seized from Swapna. WhatsApp details of other accused persons and UAE diplomats were retrieved from the phones. Some of the chats were found deleted and were retrieved with the help of experts from C-DAC. Swapna also volunteered to give details of her Gmail, Facebook, Telegram and Instagram accounts. The accounts have been extracted and contain huge data. The extraction of data from Gmail account is still under way as it contains several files.

Swapna invested money in banks, other channels
Swapna disclosed that the proceeds of the crime have been invested with various banking and non-banking channels
NIA officials take Sarith P Sto Thiruvananthapuram for evidence collection
UDF leaders allege Swapna reached the house of industrialist Kiran Marshal near Cherthala while on the run which he refuted



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