Kochi: The investigation to find out those who had paved the way for the accused in the Thiruvananthapuram gold smuggling case to get close to high officials of the state is now knocking at the doors of consultancy firms.
Based on the confidential information it has been getting on the smuggling case, the Union Home Ministry has directed that all contract businesses in the country involving private consultancy firms, including PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), should be examined.
The second phase of the investigations into the smuggling case will, therefore, now extend to private consultancy firms operating in the country with foreign investment to throw more light on the way they function.
The suggestion that the activities of the consultancy firms operating in the country should be monitored was made at a review meeting held by Union Minister Amit Shah in the presence of the heads of the agencies investigating the gold smuggling case.
The decision was based on the confidential information that the CBI representatives shared at the meeting.
The Union home ministry has ordered a detailed examination of the contract procedures that state governments adopt for foreign consultancy firms, the projects such firms are involved in, all the files related to the companies and also the contract amounts.
It is also investigating if the activities of the consultancy firms are adversely affecting national security.
Agencies led by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) have been examining the working practices of the consultancy contractors ever since the Thiruvananthapuram gold smuggling case was registered. They have been directed to hand over to the CBI evidence they find against any consultancy firm in the gold smuggling case.