The Customs, which is probing into the sensational Kerala gold smuggling case has registered a fresh case in the Economic Offences court in Kochi against Swapna Suresh and Sarith PS, the key accused in the case, for violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
The agency has registered the case on Saturday after it was found that the duo allegedly smuggled 1.9 lakh US dollars from Kerala to the UAE. They have been booked under section 113 (Confiscation of goods attempted to be improperly exported) of the Customs Act. The court is likely to consider the application moved by Customs to arrest the accused on Monday.
The Customs also suspects the involvement of CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s former principal secretary M Sivasankar in the alleged crime.Customs had issued summons to Sivasankar on Friday to depose before the investigation agency. Sivasankar developed uneasiness while being taken to the Customs office in connection with the smuggling of 1.90 lakh US dollars to the UAE. Following this, Customs officials took him to the PRS hospital in Karamana on Friday. After finding that his condition is normal except for a disc prolapse, Sivasankar was shifted to Thiruvananthapuram Medical College hospital on Saturday.
The manager of a private bank, in which the UAE Consulate here holds its accounts, had reportedly told the Enforcement Directorate(ED) that Swapna had pressurised him to convert vast amounts of Indian currency into US dollars in violation of RBI norms and FEMA provisions. The agencies suspect that Swapna used the UAE trips to smuggle foreign currency out of the country.