Kerala Gold Scam Case: NIA Quizzes Minister KT Jaleel for Eight Hours, Probe to Continue
Minister KT Jaleel leaves from the office of National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Kochi, after interrogation in connection with the gold smuggling case. (Image credit: ANI Twitter)
Kerala Minister KT Jaleel was questioned by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with the gold scam case on Thursday.
Officials said NIA questioned him for over eight hours. "We had called him at 9am but to avoid media glare, he arrived at 6 in the morning. His questioning, however, began only at 9 and ended around 5pm," an NIA official told news18.
Sources said the NIA wants Jaleel to explain why the UAE consulate chose him to distribute Ramzan-related packets. During the lockdown, Jaleel allegedly had accepted packets containing the Holy Quran and other religious material for distribution in his constituency.
The NIA suspects there is a reason why the consulate chose Jaleel and did not follow established protocol of going through government channels. "He will have to explain why he did not inform the government and the Ministry of External Affairs. He is a public servant and, therefore, has to follow laid down procedure," an officer said.
Sources said Jaleel's SIMI links will also be probed in connection with this case. "We are investigating a possible terror conspiracy. So these details, antecedents of the accused, will be looked into," a NIA officer said.
The agency is also looking at phone conversations between Jaleel and main accused in the case Swapna Suresh. Agency officials said that the calls and SMSes exchanged could be technical evidence in the case to establish larger conspiracy by the accused. Jaleel is likely to be examined again by the NIA. Officials said he might be asked about some of his investments which is suspected to be the proceeds of the gold smuggling racket.