THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala gold smuggling case, which has rocked the Pinarayi Vijayan government, took a new turn on Friday with the National Investigating Agency (NIA) registering an FIR against four persons, including prime suspect Swapna Suresh, the high-profile woman who rubbed shoulders with the high and mighty in the state and was close to Vijayan's now ousted secretary and senior IAS officer M. Sivasankar. On Friday, the NIA submitted its chargesheet against the accused in the Kerala High Court, following the anticipatory bail plea filed by Swapna.
After the NIA strongly opposed to it, the court didn't accept her plea and posted the matter for Tuesday and directed that a copy of the chargesheet be given to her.
In a statement issued by the NIA, it said an FIR has been registered in the Kerala gold smuggling case under Sections 16, 17 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, against four accused persons — P.S. Sarith, Swapna Prabha Suresh, Fazil Fareed and Sandeep Nair — in connection with the seizure of 30 kg of 24 carat gold worth Rs 14.82 crore at the Trivandrum International Airport on July 5 by the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate, Cochin.
It further pointed out that the aforesaid consignment was found camouflaged in a diplomatic baggage from the UAE that is exempted from inspection as per the Vienna Convention.
The said consignment was to be received by Sarith, who had worked in the UAE Consulate earlier as a Public Relations Officer.
Initial investigation by the Customs department has revealed that Sarith had received multiple such consignments earlier also.
"As the case pertains to smuggling of large quantity of gold into India from offshore locations, threatening the economic stability and national security of the country, it amounts to a terrorist act as stated in Section 15 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. (IANS)