Gold smuggling case: Swapna, Sandeep sent to judicial remand

Gold smuggling case: Swapna, Sandeep sent to judicial remand
Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair

Kochi: Two key accused in the sensational Kerala gold smuggling case, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, were sent to judicial remand by a court here on Saturday.

The accused were produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court (Economic Offences) as their five-day custody period granted to the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate probing the case ended on Saturday.

Earlier it was reported that a bank locker was opened in the name of Swapna at the behest of M Sivasankar, tainted ex-Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, as per the statement of a chartered accountant (CA) who is also under investigation by the Customs and other agencies. The investigating agencies had seized one kg of gold and Rs one crore in cash from the locker jointly owned by the CA and Swapna.

In a remand report submitted in the Court, the Customs said that their interrogation was done in accordance with the well settled principles of law having regard to the human rights of the accused.

Swapna was allowed to meet her children on July 29 and 31while in custody.

Both the accused will be subjected to COVID-19 tests before they are shifted to jails.

The duo were formally arrested by the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate on July 24 when they were produced before the Special NIA Court here as their custody period ended.

Swapna and Sandeep, arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) from Bengaluru on July 11, were subjected to custodial interrogation by the agency earlier.

Meanwhile, NIA probing the terror funding angle in the gold smuggling case has extended its investigation to Tamil Nadu.

Gold smuggling case: Swapna, Sandeep sent to judicial remand

Police sources in Tamil Nadu have confirmed that an NIA team led by a DIG level official was holding enquiries in Chennai in connection with the Kerala gold smuggling case.

The sources, however, did not elaborate.

NIA had earlier said that the accused, arrested in connection with the case, had sourced gold in large quantities from abroad multiple times earlier through various airports and seaports in the country, especially in Kerala.

In a report submitted before the NIA special court here last week, the agency had said its initial investigation pointed out the larger conspiracy consisting of highly influential people both in India and abroad behind this case and the racket had already transported bulk quantities of gold from the Middle East and sold it clandestinely to various people.

Investigation also disclosed that that the accused had earned lucrative profit from the illegal business and proceeds of smuggling could be used for terror funding, it had said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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