Gold smuggling: Hand chopping case accused among six arrested by NIA

PS Sarith, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair
PS Sarith, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair
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New Delhi:The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Sunday confirmed that one of the arrested individuals in the gold smuggling case was an accused in the infamous arm chopping case of 2010.

The NIA has arrested six more people and conducted searches at six places in connection with the Kerala gold smuggling case, an official said on Sunday.

One among the arrested, Muhammad Ali, is a member of the Popular Front of India. He was earlier charge-sheeted by the Kerala Police with chopping the palm of a professor but got acquitted after trial in 2015, the official said.

The agency has so far arrested 10 people in the case of smuggling of gold through diplomatic baggage addressed to the UAE consulate in Kerala capital Thiruvananthapuram.

On July 30, two accused -- Jalal A M of Ernakulam and Said Alavi E of Malappuram -- were arrested for conspiring with the arrested accused Ramees K T, an NIA spokesperson said.

On July 31, two more accused, Mohammed Shafi P and Abdu P T, both residents of Malappuram, were arrested in the case, he said.

On August 1, the NIA arrested two more persons -- Ernakulam-residents Muhammad Ali Ebrahim and Muhammad Ali -- after investigation revealed that they were part of the conspiracy, besides aiding and assisting Jalal A M in collecting the smuggled gold from Ramees K T in Thiruvananthapuram and distributing the contraband among other conspirators, he said.

The NIA suspects that Ramees and Muhammed Ali smuggled gold through diplomatic channels in collaboration with each other and used the funds generated for anti-national activities. Ali was the 24th accused in the 2010 hand chopping case.

On August 2, the NIA conducted searches at six places -- the residences of Jalal A M and Rabins Hameed in Ernakulam, and of Ramees K T, Mohammed Shafi, Said Alavi and Abdu P T in Malappuram -- the official said.

During searches, two hard disks, one tablet computer, eight mobile phones, six SIM cards, one digital video recorder and five DVDs were seized, besides various documents including bank passbooks, credit/debit cards, travel documents and identity documents of the accused, he said.

The NIA took over the probe and registered a case on July 10 against four people, including a key woman suspect, for their alleged involvement in smuggling 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crore in a diplomatic baggage in Kerala.

Further investigation in the case was underway, the official added.

(With PTI inputs.)

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