Bengaluru: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday arrested Kerala gold smuggling case accused Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair from in Bengaluru. After formally arresting them, the NIA took Swapna Suresh and her family members in its custody. They will be produced in NIA office in Kochi on Sunday.
The Customs Department had on July 5 seized 30 kg gold worth Rs 15 crore concealed in diplomatic consignment at the Thiruvananthapuram international airport.
The NIA on Friday registered a First Information Report (FIR) against Sarith Kumar, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, the three persons allegedly involved in the case.
The agency has charged them with offences under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
Swapna Suresh was on the run following the gold seizure. She was employed in Space Park and Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited (KSITL), which comes under the IT department, a portfolio held by Kerala Chief Minister.
She was ousted after being named an accused in the case. Sarith Kumar, an accused in the case who had previously worked as a public relations officer (PRO) in UAE Consulate-General`s office in Thiruvananthapuram, was arrested on July 6.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had on Wednesday asked the Centre to order a probe in the case of gold smuggling, through diplomatic baggage in Kerala, by all central agencies concerned. The Kerala CM wrote two letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
In a letter to PM Modi, he wrote, "I invite your kind attention to the seizure of about 30 Kg of gold by the Customs Officials Trivandrum International Airport on July 5, 2020. The fact that the attempt to smuggle a huge quantity of gold was concealed in diplomatic baggage makes the matter extremely serious."
In response to his letter, the Centre on Thursday allowed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to investigate the Kerala gold smuggling case, as the organised smuggling operation may have serious implications for national security.