New Delhi:The National terror probe agency NIA on Friday took up Kerala gold smuggling case and registered its own FIRunder various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) against four accused persons.
According to the NIA, the agency has named Sarith PS, Swapna Prabha Suresh, and Sandeep Nair and Fazil Fareed. The first three are residents of Thiruvananthapuram, while Fareed hails from Ernakulum.
"All the accused have been charged under sections 16,17 and 18 of UAPA in connection with the seizure of 30 kg of 24 carat gold worth Rs 14.82 crore at Trivandrum International Airport on July 5, 2020 by the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate, Cochin", the probe agency said.
The consignment was found camouflaged in diplomatic baggage from UAE that and was exempted from inspection as per the international convention and the said consignment was to be received by Sarith PS who had worked in the UAE Consulate earlier as Public Relations Officer, the NIA statement further said, adding that the Customs Department has revealed that she had received multiple such consignments earlier as well, it added.
Since this 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 UAPA, the probing agency added further.
It further said that as the alleged crime has "national and international linkages and as the initial inquiries have revealed that the proceeds of smuggled gold could be used for financing of terrorism in India, NIA has taken up the investigation of the case".(UNI)