So far, the agency has arrested 12 people in connection with the case related to smuggling of gold through diplomatic baggage addressed to the UAE consulate at Thiruvananthapuram.
Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case, has claimed before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that she had “good influence” in the top office of the state’s administration, a court here was
told on Thursday. In its submission before the NIA special court here, the investigation agency while opposing her bail plea also said Suresh had received wage even after having resigned from the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram. She actively intervened in almost all matters related to the consulate after she quit her job in the consulate, NIA claimed while sharing the details of the investigation carried out by it in the case so far.
Suresh along with co-accused Sandeep Nair were arrested from Bengaluru on July 11 by the NIA. So far, the agency has arrested 12 people in connection with the case related to smuggling of gold through diplomatic baggage addressed to the UAE consulate at Thiruvananthapuram.
During her questioning, the prime accused in the case informed that she had “good influence” in the Chief Minister’s
Office (CMO), the NIA said in its submission in the court. She has also reportedly admitted to the agency that she
had close links with suspended IAS officer M Sivasankar. Suresh has said Sivasankar, removed as principal secretary
to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan recently, had been like her mentor.
Strongly opposing her bail plea, the NIA also reiterated that an intensive investigation has to be carried out in the
case in which the woman along with key co-accused had illegally brought in gold worth over Rs 100 crore through the diplomatic channel since November last year.
The petitioner has admitted that she along with other accused including Sarith, Nair and Ramees, had hatched the
conspiracy to smuggle gold despite being aware of the fact that their activities threaten the country’s security and
monetary stability, the NIA claimed. The court reserved its order on Suresh’s bail petition for August 10.
Asserting that thorough investigation was required in the case to add value to the prima-facie findings that the gold
smuggled could have been used for anti-national activities, the NIA had earlier submitted Suresh also knew about the antecedents of all the accused while she transacted with them. “It is also learnt during investigation that the initial money required for obtaining gold was funded by various persons with dubious antecedents and the money was sent abroad through hawala channel. The source of gold smuggled from UAE is also under investigation,” the agency had said in the counter filed early this week.
The NIA has said there was prima facie evidence to the effect that the accused intentionally committed the act which
will fall directly under Section 15 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. In her plea, Suresh alleged she was implicated in the crime on a wild imagination without any basis and the case was an offshoot of the “political rivalry” between the state and central governments, triggered by the colourful and fictitious stories aired by the media. She claimed there was no prima facie evidence to attract an offence under Sections 15, 16 and 17 of UAPA.
Gold worth nearly Rs 15 crore was seized by the Customs at the airport in the state capital on July 5 and the NIA was
entrusted with the probe after the state government asked the Centre to order an appropriate investigation. Opposition Congress has been targeting Vijayan, demanding his resignation besides pressing for a CBI probe.