In a recent development in the controversial Kerala gold smuggling case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has told a special court in Kochi that the investigation needs to be expanded abroad to question the role of UAE Consulate officials and other high profile individuals. The agency has also identified two more accused persons who are in UAE, and procedures to issue Blue Corner Notice to these two along with one more accused who was identified earlier, have been initiated.
The NIA informed the court that interrogation into the roles of Consulate officials was important to unearth more conspirators behind the crime. The agency revealed this to court while submitting the plea to remand four accused in judicial custody.
“Investigation has revealed that a larger conspiracy involving influential people both in India and abroad is behind the crime,” NIA submitted to court. It also reiterated that large quantities of gold have been smuggled into the country on multiple occasions through diplomatic channels.
The controversial case pertains to smuggling of 30 kg gold from Dubai to Kerala in a camouflaged diplomatic baggage that was addressed to the Consular Officer of UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram. The Consular Officer Rashed Khamis Ali Musaiqri Alshemeli, in whose name the camouflaged diplomatic baggage came, left India in July.
The NIA which is probing the suspected terror links in the case, has so far identified 20 people as accused, of having a role in the crime. Except for four of the accused, all others including the key three accused -- Sarith PS, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair -- have been arrested.
In the latest development, NIA has found two more accused -- Sidhiqul Akbar (A15) and Ahammed Kutty (A20) -- to be also in the UAE. Faizal Fareed, an alleged kingpin and third accused in the case, was already learnt to be in UAE, along with the 10th accused Rabins Hameed. The agency informed the court that procedures to issue Blue Corner Notice to Shidhiqul, Ahammed and Rabin, have been started.
A Blue Corner Notice is an inquiry notice issued by the Interpol, in order to identify, locate or obtain information about a specific person as part of a criminal investigation. A Blue Corner Notice has already been issued against Faizal Fareed.
It has also been found that the accused had used social media to communicate with each other and other suspects in the case. Earlier this month, the agency had conducted raids in the houses of five accused (A15 to A20) and the seized digital devices from there have been sent for cyber forensic examination at the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) in Thiruvananthapuram.
Watch smuggled gold seized by Customs: