Kochi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday attached over 30 kg of gold seized from Thiruvananthapuram international airport last year, which led to the arrest of high profile personalities including an IAS officer and two former employees of the UAE consulate in Kerala.
The ED also attached over Rs 14 lakh belonging to former employees of the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, Sarith P S and Swapna Suresh, in the case known as the Kerala Gold Smuggling Case.
In a statement here, the ED said it has provisionally attached 30.245 kg gold valued at Rs 14,82,00,010 belonging to Aboobacker Pazhedath, Abdul Hameed P M, Jalal A M, Rabins K Hameed, Abdu P T, Mohammed Shafi, Hamjad Ali K, P T Ahmedkutty, Hamjad Abdul Salam, Shaijal, Muhammed Shameer, Razal and Ansil and cash of Rs 14,98,000 belonging to Sarith and Swapna Suresh in the Kerala Gold Smuggling Case. The ED launched an investigation under the provisions of PMLA based on the NIA's FIR filed before the Special Court for NIA cases here against Sarith, Swapna, Faisal Fareed, Sandeep, and others under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
The Customs Commissionerate (Preventive), Cochin had registered a case relating to the seizure of 30.245 kg of 24 Karat gold worth Rs 14.82 crore at Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.
The gold was camouflaged as diplomatic baggage to UAE Consulate, which has immunity from checking at the airport as per the Vienna convention. The consignment was to be received by Sarith, the first accused in the case, who had worked in UAE Consulate earlier as Public Relations Officer, in complicity with Swapna Prabha Suresh, Sandeep Nair and others, the ED said. Sarith, Swapna and Sandeep Nair were formally arrested by the Directorate on July 22, 2020.
Another accused M Sivasankar, IAS- the then Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister of Kerala was also arrested by the Directorate on October 28, 2020. The ED said during the course of an investigation under PMLA, it was revealed that accused persons had by the commission of scheduled offence derived/obtained the Proceeds of Crime in the form of 30.245 kg of smuggled gold valued at Rs 14,82,00,010 (Rupees Fourteen Crores Eighty-Two Lakhs Ten only).
"The accused/suspects illegally routed the sale proceeds of previously smuggled gold to Dubai which was further used for the purchase of next consignment of gold intended to be smuggled into India and recycled this process throughout the operations and thereby proceeds of crime generated out of gold smuggling previously was used to purchase the said 30.245 kg gold," it said.
It was further revealed that Sarith and Swapna had by the commission of scheduled offence derived/obtained the Proceeds of Crime to the tune of Rs 14.98 lakh.
"Since the accused persons are possessing/concealing/using such proceeds of crime in the form of 30.245 kg gold valued at Rs 14,82,00,010 and cash of Rs 14,98,000 which is provisionally attached vide PAO No. 05/2021/KCZO. Further investigation is in progress," the ED added.