ED secures custody of Kerala gold smuggling case key accused Swapna Suresh


India, All India

The seized gold is stated to be worth nearly Rs 15 crore.

File image of Swapna Suresh, the key accused.

New Delhi/Thiruvananthapuram: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday obtained the custody of three people, including main accused Swapna Suresh, in connection with the Kerala gold smuggling-money laundering case, officials said.

The agency got their custody from a special NIA court in Thiruvananthapuram, they said.

The ED has got the custody of Sarith PS, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair who were arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) earlier in this case, they said.

The three will be questioned and their statements recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the officials said.

The central probe agency had filed a PMLA case last month to probe the alleged gold smuggling using a 'diplomatic bag' after studying an NIA FIR.

The central agency will investigate if proceeds of crime were generated by the accused by laundering of funds that were earned through the alleged gold smuggling racket.

The case emerged on July 5 when gold, weighing over 30 kg, was seized by the Customs Department from the "diplomatic baggage" that had landed by air cargo at the Thiruvananthapuram international airport from the Gulf.

The seized gold is stated to be worth nearly Rs 15 crore.

The ED is the fourth central agency that is probing the accused involved in the case after the Customs, NIA and the Income Tax Department.

The NIA had arrested the prime accused in the case, Swapna Suresh and her associate Sandeep Nair, from Bengaluru on July 11.

Sarith P S, also a former employee of the UAE consulate in Kerala, was arrested by the Customs Department after the gold was seized.