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States » South


Diplomatic gold smuggle: NIA arrests Swapna Suresh, Sandeep Nair from Bangalore

Bengaluru/Thiruvananthapuram, Jul 11 (UNI) Key accused in diplomatic baggage gold smuggle case, Swapna Suresh, and her accomplice Sandeep Nair have been arrested from Bangalore by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday.
Swapna Suresh, a former employee of UAE Consulate, is among the four accused booked by the NIA in the smuggling of 30 kg gold through the diplomatic baggage of UAE Consulate in this Capital City. The gold was seized by the airport customs officials at the international airport here on July 5.
According to the official sources, the accused in the sensational Gold Smuggling case, would be
taken to Kerala on Sunday in relation to the FIR filed against them.
Earlier, the NIA had filed an FIR against Swapna, Sarith, Sandeep Nair and Fazil Fareed in connection with the smuggling case.
An anticipatory bail plea in the Kerala High Court by Swapna Suresh was opposed by Central agencies including the Customs and the NIA on Friday. The Court deferred the case to Tuesday.
This is also to be noted that both the accused were arrested from Bangalore when strict lockdown rules have been implemented by the Kerala and Karnataka Governments in view of rising number of COVID positive cases in both the neighbouring States.
On Thursday, Swapna Suresh released an audio clip claiming that she had no links with the smuggling case.
Her audio clip claimed that she contacted the customs officials at the International Airport in Thiruvananthapuram on behalf of Rashid Khamis Al Sheimeili, Consulate General of the UAE, and was not aware about the smuggling issue.
"Consulate General Rashid Khamis Al Sheimeili sought my service to clear the baggage, due to delay in delivery, as it reached at the airport here on June 30. Therefore, I contacted the Customs officials to release the baggage," she added.
However, the NIA has taken up the investigation of the case and registered the FIR under sections 16, 17 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
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.
Further, as the case has national and international linkages and as the initial enquiries have revealed that the proceeds of smuggled gold could be used for financing of terrorism in India, the NIA has taken up the investigation of the case.
UNI DS GK 0016
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