A key accused in the controversial Kerala gold smuggling case, Sandeep Nair, has turned an approver in the case. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday gave nod to a plea filed by Sandeeep Nair saying that he wants to confess facts pertaining to the crime.
Sandeep, the fourth accused in the case registered by NIA, submitted a plea in a special court hearing the case in Kochi, stating that he is willing “to reveal the entire facts voluntarily under the provision of section 164 (Recording of confessions and statements) of the Code of Criminal Procedure”.
He also mentioned in the plea that he is aware that the facts he provides could also be treated as an evidence against him.
Sandeep Nair, a resident of Thiruvananthapuram, was arrested along with another key accused Swapna Suresh, from their hideout in Bengaluru. According to investigation officers, Sandeep has been caught in another gold smuggling case through Trivandrum International Airport before.
Sandeep’s and Swapna’s name surfaced in the controversial case after Customs Department arrested Sarith PS, former staff of the United Arab Emirate (UAE) Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram for smuggling 30 kg gold through diplomatic baggage. Soon after the incident on July 5, NIA started a parallel inquiry and nabbed absconding Sandeep and Swapna from a hotel in Bengaluru on July 11.
Following the arrest, NIA told the court that the accused had “conspired to damage the monetary stability of India” and that the smuggled gold could be used for funding terrorim. Sandeep and others were booked under sections under Sections 16 (Punishment for terrorist act), 17 (Punishment for raising funds for terrorist act) and 18 (Punishment for conspiracy) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
Sandeep is the fourth accused in the case registered by the Customs Department also.
It is Sandeep who earlier gave a statement to NIA about the alleged involvement of KT Ramees, alleged kingpin in the case, who is accused of having pressured the gang to smuggle maximum gold during the lockdown.
(With inputs from IANS)
Watch visuals of the smuggled gold: