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NIA arrests two key accused in Kerala airport gold smuggling case from Bengaluru

Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair were on the run, ever since their names came up as the prime suspects in the case.

SNS | New Delhi |

In the sensational Thiruvananthapuram Airport Gold smuggling case involving the smuggling of 30 kg gold in Kerala through diplomatic baggage, key accused were arrested by the National Investigative Agency(NIA) from Bengaluru on Saturday.

Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair were on the run, ever since they were made the prime suspect in the case.

Earlier, on Thursday, Swapna Suresh had finally broken her silence in an audio message, saying she had no role to play in the matter.

Swapna, a high-profile woman happens to be close to the ruling Left Democratic Front government in the state.

In the audio which surfaced on Thursday, Swapna said she had no role to play in the smuggling case.

“All what I did was when I was asked by the Consulate on the delay in the baggage getting cleared, I spoke to the Customs. All I did was that, and I have no idea from where the baggage came and what its contents were and such details. The loss in the present controversy is for me and my family and I am in hiding because of fear. I am on the verge of committing suicide as I am being taken to task and I have nothing to do with this smuggling,” said a sobbing Swapna.

The MHA had said that the organised smuggling operation may have serious implications for national security, while transferring the case to NIA on Thursday.

The NIA had on Friday registered an FIR in the smuggling case under sections 16, 17 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and the NIA inquiry so far, suggests that the yields from the sale of smuggled gold could be used in terrorists activities in the country.

In an official statement on Friday, the NIA had said, “As the case pertains to smuggling of large quantity of gold into India from offshore locations threatening the economic stability and national security of the country, it amounts to a terrorist act…Further, as the case  has national and international linkages and as the initial enquiries have revealed that the proceeds of smuggled gold could be used for financing of terrorism in India, NIA has taken up the investigation on the case.”

The former PRO of the UAE consulate at Thiruvananthapuram, Sarith Kumar, has already been arrested by the customs department.

Swapna, Sarith and Sandeep Nair of Thiruvananthapuram and Fazil Fareed of Ernakulam have been listed in the smuggling case as accused.

The Central agencies including the NIA and the Customs had opposed her anticipatory bail plea in the Kerala High Court.