The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has named five more people as accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case. Four of them are in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The five new accused are Mohammad Aslam, 44, Vandoor, Malappuram; Abdul Latheef K, 47, Vengara, Malappuram; Nazirudheen Shah alias Nasru, 32, Codacal, Malappuram; Ramzan Parancherry alias Sabu Pullara, 36, Pullara PO, Pookattur, Malappuram; and Mohammed Mansoor PS alias Manju, 35, Kallarutty, Omassery, Kozhikode.
The NIA has sought the help of the Interpol in tracing four of the accused who are in the UAE. The total number of accused in the smuggling case has now risen to 35, out of whom 21 are under custody, reports India Today.
It was in the first week of July that the Customs department at the Thiruvananthapuram airport seized 30 kg of gold from a diplomatic baggage, addressed to the UAE Consulate in the city. Since then the case had caused a political storm in the state with one of the accused -- Swapna Suresh -- having links with IAS official M Sivasankar, the then Principal Secretary of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Sivasankar was removed from his dual posts of Principal Secretary to CM and IT Secretary, and later suspended. He is presently in the custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), another central agency which is probing the money laundering side of the case.
The other main accused in the case include Sarith Kumar, Sandeep Nair and K T Rameez. On Monday, leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala urged the government to inquire into the question of the accused using the stateās IT@School programme as a cover, reports The Hindu. He wrote a letter to CM Pinarayi Vijayan pointing out media reports that said that one of the accused in the case had distributed devices needed for the project.