CBI, NIA in pursuit of the Kerala gold smuggling case

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The main investigating agencies in the country are likely to carry out simultaneous inquiries into the gold smuggling racket that was being operated using diplomatic immunity at the Trivandrum International Airport, and unearthed by the Customs department on Sunday. The department seized 30kg of gold worth about Rs 13.5 crore that was being smuggled into Kerala from the UAE in a diplomatic baggage. As the investigations into the smuggling and related financial transactions continue, the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) have also joined the probe given the international nature of the racket and to see if national security has been compromised. Meanwhile, the Customs department conducted raids the whole day on Tuesday at the residence of Swapna Suresh, who is alleged to have carried out the smuggling operations by using forged documents.

What happened in the case?

Swapna Suresh, a former employee of the UAE consulate, and who later worked as a consultant in the Space Park project under the Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited (KSITIL), is the main accused in the gold smuggling case. She is now absconding.

The customs department got to know about Swapna’s role when they questioned Sarith, the former PRO at the UAE consulate. Sarith said Swapna was his friend. The customs department said Swapna forged documents of the UAE consulate to obtain diplomatic immunity to run her gold smuggling operations.

Malayala Manorama reported that Swapna was kicked out of the consulate job after some irregularities surfaced; however, the report claimed that Sarith had given a statement that Swapna had friends in high places who then helped her get a job in the state IT department. Onmanorama reported that Sivasankar had got her appointed as operations manager at Space Park under KSITIL, which is under the IT Department. The department dismissed her after her involvement in the gold smuggling case came to light.

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