Sandeep Nair not on list of accused, may have turned approver
Leaving out Sandeep Nair from the list of accused in the diplomatic channel gold smuggling case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday submitted the charge sheet before the NIA Special Court, Kochi.
The charge sheet lists 20 persons, including P.S. Sarith, Swapna Suresh, K.T. Ramees, and 17 others as accused. Sandeep may have turned approver in the case.
The NIA has invoked the Sections 16, 17, 18, and 20 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act against the accused in the case.
While Section 16 deals with punishment for terrorist activities, Section 17 deals with punishment for raising funds for terrorist act and Section 18, punishment for conspiracy. Section 20 deals with the punishment for being a member of the terrorist organisation.
Earlier, the agency had contended that the accused might have used the proceeds of the gold smuggling for terrorist activities or funding terrorism. It had also stated before the NIA court that some of the accused might have established links with the underworld gangs operating from Tanzania and illegally brought gold from there to India.
The agency had also submitted before the court that it suspected that some of the accused had ties with criminal gang led by Dawood Ibrahim.
It was on July 10 last year that the NIA booked the case against Sarith, Swapna, Faisal Fareed, Sandeep Nair and others following the seizure of around 30kg gold by the Customs at the Trivandrum International Airport.
The case was that gold was smuggled to the country under the pretext of diplomatic cargo addressed to the Charge D’ Affairs at the Consulate General of the United Arab Emirates, Thiruvananthapuram.
The agency has arraigned 31 persons, whom it said, “had conspired and financed gold smuggling besides facilitated the disposal of the contraband and transfer of proceeds thereof to the UAE through hawala channels, for purchasing and smuggling more gold, with the intention of threatening the economic security of India.” Eight persons are absconding.
The NIA case is that since June, 2019, the accused had knowingly conspired, raised funds and smuggled 167 kg of gold from UAE, between November, 2019 and June, 2020 through the import cargo addressed to diplomats at the Consulate General of UAE in Thiruvananthapuram.
It also contends that the key accused had also planned to smuggle more gold from countries such as Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.
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