Thiruvananthapuram, July 10: The National Investigative Agency (NIA) on Friday registered a First Information Report (FIR) against Swapna Suresh, UAE consulate PRO Sarith and others in connection with the Kerala gold smuggling case. The FIR was filed under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967. The NIA took over the investigation on Thursday a day after Kerala CM sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention into the case.
Earlier in the day, police resorted to tear gas and water cannon against the members of Youth League, the youth wing of the Indian Union Muslim League. The members of the organisation were protesting in Kozhikode demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in connection with the case. Kerala Gold Smuggling Case: CM Pinarayi Vijayan Seeks PM Narendra Modi's Intervention, Demands Investigation by Central Agencies.
NIA registers FIR in #KeralaGoldScandal case under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, against Sarith, Swapna Prabha Suresh, Fazil Fareed, Sandeep Nair and others in connection with the seizure of 30 kg of gold at Trivandrum International Airport on 05.07.2020. pic.twitter.com/TFb60Q5WEz
— ANI (@ANI) July 10, 2020
On Thursday, Swapna, the prime accused in the case filed an anticipatory bail in the Kerala High Court In her petition, she claimed that she was innocent and had done no wrong, and the media were weaving baseless allegations against her. She further stated that she had the necessary credentials to act to clear the baggage as she was asked by the officials in the UAE Consulate to do so.
The customs department, on Sunday, had seized 30 kg gold that arrived on a cargo flight at Thiruvananthapuram airport. The baggage had arrived from Dubai and was understood to have been marked to the UAE Consulate, which has its office in the heart of the state capital. Kerala Gold Smuggling Case to be Investigated by NIA, Says MHA.
The Consulate's PRO, Sarith, was arrested. However, Swapna is on the run. She had a close relationship with senior IAS officer M Sivasankar, who was holding the post of Principal Secretary to Pinarayi Vijayan until he was removed on Tuesday. Sivasankar was also removed from the post of IT Secretary.