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NIA suspects terror-funding in Kerala gold smuggling case

 

Agency seeks custody of Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair.

The proceeds from the gold smuggling case might be used for terror funding, according to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

The agency submitted before the NIA special court, Kochi, that it had reasons to believe that the gold was not smuggled for jewelry groups as commonly perceived. Some terror groups were dealing with gold as it had become difficult for them to handle cash, it submitted.

The NIA came up with these explanations on specific questions from the court on how the case would attract the provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) slapped on the accused. The court also sought to know the basis on which the accused had been charged under UAPA.

The agency invoked Section 16 and 17 of the UAPA, which prescribes punishment for raising funds for terrorist activities, against the accused Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair. It sought the custody of the two for probing “the terrorist angle” and suspected terrorism funding in the case.

The agency submitted that the accused had forged documents pertaining to the UAE consulate to send gold through diplomatic baggage. The accused had smuggled in gold on three occasions using the forged documents, it submitted.

The NIA also produced the case diary before the court. The court sent the two accused to the custody of the agency till 11 a.m. on July 21.

Nair complained to the court that no inquiries were being carried out on the role of one Rashid, who had arranged visas and other documents to facilitate gold smuggling from the UAE.

He submitted that he was being unnecessarily victimized by the investigation agencies.