The ED is the fourth central agency that is probing the accused involved in the case after the Customs, NIA and the Income Tax Department.

Gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh along with police officials.Swapna clad in a black pants and top has also covered her face.PTI
news Gold smuggling case Thursday, July 23, 2020 - 12:45

In another development in the controversial Kerala gold smuggling case, the Enforcement Directorate has also registered a case in the matter. The agency has registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), equivalent of a police FIR, after studying the NIA complaint filed in the case recently.

The ED case has been booked under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and the agency will record the statement of the accused, officials said.

The central agency will investigate if proceeds of crime were generated by the accused by laundering of funds that were earned through the alleged gold smuggling racket.

The ED also has powers to attach the immovable and movable properties of the accused under the PMLA. According to reports, the agency has started proceedings for the same.

The case emerged on July 5 when gold, weighing over 30 kg, was seized by the Customs Department from a "camouflaged diplomatic baggage" that had landed by air cargo at the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport from the UAE.

The seized gold is stated to worth nearly Rs 15 crore.

The ED is the fourth central agency that is probing the accused involved in the case after the Customs, NIA and the Income Tax Department.

The NIA had arrested the prime accused in the case, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, from Bengaluru on July 11.

Read: How NIA traced gold smuggling accused Swapna and Sandeep to Bengaluru

The NIA had told a special court in Kochi on Tuesday that Swapna, Sandeep and others conspired to damage the country's monetary stability by smuggling large quantities of gold from abroad.

In a report submitted to the court, the NIA also said it is suspected that the accused had used the proceeds of smuggling for financing terrorism through various means.

The NIA has interrogated Swapna and Sandeep who are in its custody till July 24.

It has booked Swapna, Sarith P S, Sandeep and Faisal Fareed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Swapna was working in the Information Technology department and her contractual service terminated after her name cropped up in the gold smuggling case.

IAS officer M Sivasakar was removed as Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the state IT Secretary over his alleged links with Swapna and other accused in the case.

She is also stated to be a former employee of the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.

Sarith P S, also a former employee of the UAE consulate in Kerala, was arrested by the Customs Department after the gold was seized.

Dubai-based businessman Fareed is still at large.

Read: Gold smuggled to Kerala in diplomatic baggage was possible only with inside help

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