ED files PMLA case over Kerala gold smuggling allegations; accused are already in NIA custody
The NIA had arrested the prime accused in the case, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, from Bengaluru on 11 July
New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a money laundering complaint in connection with the Kerala gold smuggling case, officials said on Wednesday.
They said the agency has registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), equivalent of a police FIR, after studying the NIA FIR filed earlier.
The ED case has been booked under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and the agency will record the statement of the accused, they said.
The central agency will investigate if the proceeds of crime were generated by the accused by laundering funds that were earned through the alleged gold smuggling racket.
The NIA had arrested the prime accused in the case, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, from Bengaluru on 11 July.
The agency had told a special court in Kochi on Tuesday that Suresh, Nair and others had conspired to damage the country's monetary stability by smuggling large quantity 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 accused deliberately used the diplomatic baggage of UAE as a cover to transact illegal business and it may have serious repercussions in India's diplomatic relations with the UAE government and it is prejudicial to the monetary and economic security of India as well, the NIA said.
It has also questioned Suresh and Nair, who are in its custody till 24 July.
The gold smuggling racket was unearthed on 5 July after Customs officials at the Thiruvananthapuram international airport seized the diplomatic consignment sent from UAE containing gold nearly worth Rs 15 crore.
The Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) has appealed to the Kerala government for permission to begin film production in the state after several Malayalam film crews moved to other states as Kerala’s Covid-19 lockdown restrictions prevents film shoots.
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The application, which raised the issue related to Kerala, claimed it is shocking that in a medical emergency, the government is playing with the lives of citizens through such measures