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Kerala gold case: Court extends remand period until Aug 21

V Sajeev Kumar/Vinson Kurian Kochi/Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on July 24, 2020 Published on July 24, 2020

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₹1 crore in cash, 1 kg of gold seized from locker

A Special Court of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has extended till August 21 the remand of the accused in the case involving smuggling of gold via the diplomatic channel through the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.

The accused, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, the second and fourth accused, were brought to the court on Friday afternoon following the expiry of their initial custody period. The NIA later submitted that it has seized ₹1 crore in cash and one kg gold from the bank lockers owned by Swapna Suresh.

But her lawyer held that by a friend in West Asia had gifted the same to her.

Moves bail application

In her bail application, Swapna Suresh submitted that charges invoked on her under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act would not hold as the case did not yet have a proven terrorist link. The court will consider her bail application on Wednesday (July 29) when the NIA will be represented by the Additional Solicitor General.

 

Meanwhile, the court has also permitted the Customs to arrest both the accused following a petition filed by it and permitted it to record their arrest. Earlier, the Customs had arrested only the first accused PS Sarith in the case.

NIA grills former aide of CM

The NIA has decided to further interrogate M Sivasankar, who was removed from the post of Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister for suspected links with the accused. He has been asked to appear before the NIA office in Kochi on Monday. The NIA had completed the first round of questioning in Thiruvananthapuram went on for five hours until 9.30 pm on Thursday night.

Earlier last week, the Customs had grilled him for nine hours, unprecedented for a top civil servant in the State. Sources said that Sivasankar had denied having any role in the smuggling case.

He told the NIA that the relationship with accused Swapna Suresh and PS Sarith did not extend beyond normal friendship. Separately, the Enforcement Directorate has commenced an investigation into the nature of the financial transactions pertaining to the case.

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Published on July 24, 2020
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