ED
ED

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) in connection with the high-profile Kerala gold smuggling case, which is being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Earlier, sources in the directorate had informed that the ED was closely monitoring the case and may soon join the probe to unearth the money transactions involved in the matter.

According to sources, the ED can take up the case under provisions of The Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA), and Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).

"ED probe will be on whether the accused transacted money for obtaining the gold. If so in what channel the money was exchanged and who are the persons involved and the persons in another country. If money is not transacted than it falls under the category of hawala, which comes in money laundering, that has strict provisions under which a case can be taken up," sources had told ANI earlier.

This comes even as the NIA probe progresses to uncover the high-profile case related to the smuggling of gold through diplomatic channels in the state. Three key accused in the matter -- Sarith PS, Swapna Suresh, and Sandeep Nair -- are currently under the custody of the NIA.

The matter had come to light after 30 kg of gold worth Rs 14.82 crore smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage was busted by customs in Thiruvananthapuram.

The case gained national attention after the opposition in the state alleged the involvement of the Chief Minister's Office as one of the accused reportedly had connections with the Principal Secretary to CMO who was removed from the post.

The NIA has registered an FIR under Sections 16, 17 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, against four accused persons, of which three have been arrested.

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