Kerala Gold Smuggling: Dubai-gold-terror link, NIA to extradite UAE biz man

A special NIA court in Kochi on Monday remanded Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, main accused in the Kerala gold smuggling racket, in custody for a week. The agency now wants to extradite Faisal Fareed, a Dubai-based businessman, who allegedly sent the cargo, camouflaged as a diplomatic packet.

Faisal allegedly forged the seal of the UAE government and the sticker indicating diplomatic bag.

The NIA has moved the court for a non-bailable arrest warrant against Fareed. The agency will seek help from Interpol to extradite him.

The UAE and India have signed an extradition treaty to facilitate exchange of criminals. The UAE, which is holding its own investigation, has been extending all cooperation to India in this regard.

The FIR claims that the proceeds of the 30kg gold, valued at about Rs 15 crore, were meant to be used for terrorist activities.

The FIR also mentions that the accused have enjoyed patronage from highly-placed persons. Former IT Secretary M Sivasankar, who was the principal secretary of the chief minister till he was removed from both positions last week, is likely to be questioned in connection with the case. A team of Customs and NIA officials is already in Thiruvananthapuram.

It is believed that the conspiracy to undertake the clandestine operation was hatched at a flat occupied by the top bureaucrat, which was also attended by Malappuram resident Rameez, a fourth person involved in the racket.

The Customs has already arrested Rameez. He is being interrogated at Kochi. He is likely to be quizzed in the presence of the other accused. The man, who has a history of involvement in gold smuggling, is alleged to be the link responsible for the distribution of the contraband.

Meanwhile, the opposition United Democratic Front has decided to bring a non-confidence motion against the Pinarayi Vijayan government for its alleged involvement in providing protection to the accused. The CM’s principal secretary was apparently very close to the accused.

The UDF has also demanded the resignation of the Speaker of the Assembly, who according to the opposition lowered the prestige of the house by attending a private function organised by two of the accused.

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Free Press Journal