Investigation officials want the notice to be issued against Faizal Fareed, accused number three in the case, who is believed to be in the UAE.

Gold smuggling accused Sandeep Nair being taken to NIA court in Kochi. Sandeep walks along with an NIA officer. Both of them are wearing face masks. Kerala police officers are also along with them.Accused Sandeep Nair
news Gold smuggling case Tuesday, July 14, 2020 - 13:30

A special court in Kerala on Tuesday granted permission to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to initiate proceedings with the Interpol and issue a ‘blue corner notice’ to nab one of the key accused in the gold smuggling case that has surfaced in the state. The court also issued a non-bailable warrant to arrest Faizal Fareed, one of the accused in the case.

A blue corner notice is an enquiry notice issued by the Interpol, to identify, locate or obtain information about a specific person as part of a criminal investigation.

On Monday, investigation officials sought the permission of an NIA court in Kochi to nab Faizal, a Thrissur native, who is believed to be in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at present. The court considered the request on Thursday and gave its nod for the NIA to go ahead with the process.

Faizal Fareed is named as the third accused in the case pertaining to the smuggling of 30 kg of 24-carat gold, estimated to be worth Rs 14.82 crores. The NIA has alleged that the smuggled gold could be used for ‘financing terrorism in India’.

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

Faizal, along with three others -- Sarith Kumar, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair -- have been charged 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 (UAPA). It is alleged that Faizal helped with the smuggling of gold from UAE.

According to sources, the investigation team has also informed the court that the accused persons were engaged in a similar activity last year, as they allegedly smuggled gold twice to Kerala.

It was earlier this month that gold, smuggled in diplomatic baggage through Trivandrum International Airport, was nabbed by Customs. The case soon snowballed into a political storm in Kerala as allegations surfaced that some of the accused had close connections with top officials in the Kerala government including the Chief Minister’s Office.

M Sivasankar, who was the Principal Secretary of the Information Technology (IT) Department was removed from his post last week after allegations of connections with the accused were raised against him.

Read: Why Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan chose to no longer shield Sivasankar IAS

Watch Customs seizing the smuggled gold: