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NIA Chargesheet in Kerala Gold Smuggling Case Does Not Mention Political Connections of Swapna Suresh

File photo of Kerala gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh.

File photo of Kerala gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh.

The 38-page chargesheet seen by News18 does not mention former principal secretary to Chief Minister - K Shivashankar, as well.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Kerala gold smuggling case chargesheet has made no mention of any political patronage to Swapna Suresh or the other accused.

The 38-page chargesheet seen by News18 does not mention former principal secretary to Chief Minister - K Shivashankar, as well.

Shivashankar has just been granted bail after arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in the case. K T Jaleel, who was questioned by NIA in connection with the case, has also found no mention.

The possible involvement of high ranking politicians with Swapna Suresh has lead to a high-decibel political debate in Kerala. NIA officials said the investigation has not been completed yet and a supplementary chargesheet could be filed.

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NIA has charged Swapna Suresh and her co-accused under sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) arguing that they conspired to de-stabilise India's security and economy. "Accused had knowledge that their act of smuggling of gold to India in large quantity would threaten the security and economic stability of the country, destabilise the Indian economy and damage friendly relations with UAE; conjointly they committed the terrorist act," said the chargesheet.

As per NIA, the conspiracy began in 2016 by then UAE consulate PRO Sarith, Secretary to consular Swapna Suresh, Sandeep Nair and Ramees K T. NIA says the main accused decided to help Ramees smuggle gold in lieu of $1,000 per kg of gold. This was later hiked to $1,500 per kg.

Explaining the modus operandi, NIA said, "gold purchased in Dubai was converted into shippable formats by concealing the same in various apparatus, packed and brought to cargo terminals and shipped after generating airway bills using forged authorisation letters of diplomats at consulate general of UAE in Thiruvananthapuram."

Twenty-one people have been chargesheeted so far while nine have been mentioned in column 12 of the chargesheet as the accused against whom "investigation is pending".

Those chargesheeted includes:

(1) Sarith PS, resident of Thiruvananthapuram district;

(2) Swapna Prabha Suresh, resident of Thiruvananthapuram district;

(3) Ramees KT, resident of Malappuram district;

(4) Jalal AM, resident of Ernakulam district;

(5) Mohammed Shafi P, resident of Malappuram district;

(6) Saidalavi E, resident of Malappuram district;

(7) Abdu PT, resident Malappuram district;

(8) Rabins Hameed, resident of Ernakulam district;

(9) Muhammedali Ebrahim, resident of Ernakulam district,

(10) Muhammedali, resident of Ernakulam district;

(11) Sharafuddeen KT, resident of Malappuram district;

(12) Mohammed Shafeeq A, resident of Malappuram district;

(13) Hamzath Abdulsalam, resident of Malappuram district;

(14) Samju TM, resident of Kozhikode district;

(15) Hamjad Ali K, resident of Malappuram district;

(16) Jifsal CV, resident of Kozhikode district;

(17) Aboobacker P, resident of Malappuram district;

18) Muhammed Abdu Shameem KV, resident of Kozhikode district;

(19) Abdul Hameed, resident of Malappuram district and

(20) Shamshudeen resident of Kozhikode district.

NIA in the chargesheet has not named the UAE diplomat as a conspirator. Instead, it says that the consul general warned authorities about Sarith before he left India "because of covid". Sarith, who was a PRO in the consulate, has been accused of stealing letter pads and using it to forge authorisation letters in conspiracy with Swapna Suresh, Sandeep Nair and Ramees. NIA says Ramees had formed a group on encrypted chat platform- Telegram and named it CPM committee. "For committing the terrorist act the accused had conspired, recruited people and formed a terrorist gang, raised money and smuggled around 167 kg of gold from UAE," the chargesheet said.

NIA claims that the accused had plans of spreading their smuggling operations to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Malaysia but the covid pandemic and connected travel ban halted their plans.

first published:February 04, 2021, 15:28 IST