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MHA hands over Kerala gold smuggling case to NIA, says case has national security implications

MHA hands over Kerala gold smuggling case to NIA, says case has national security implications

The State
MHA hands over Kerala gold smuggling case to NIA, says case has national security implications

The probe has been handed over to NIA since organised smuggling operations have serious implications for national security, the MHA said.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Thursday handed over the probe into Thiruvananthapuram airport gold smuggling case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

According to the MHA, the decision was taken after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a probe by central agencies into the case. This was after opposition parties demanded CM Vijayan’s resignation.

The probe has been handed over to NIA since organised smuggling operations have serious implications for national security, the MHA said.

Last week, 30 kgs of gold being smuggling inside diplomatic cargo addressed to the UAE Consulate General Office in Thiruvananthapuram was apprehended by Customs at the international airport.

Swapna Suresh, former executive secretary at the UAE Consulate-General’s office, is being probed as a person of interest after a preliminary probe revealed that she may have forged Consulate documents to illicitly use diplomatic immunity as a cover for smuggling gold from Gulf countries.

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Opposition leaders alleged that Suresh has contacts in the Kerala CMO.

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Calls for CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s resignation grew even louder after the name of his principal secretary M Sivasankar was linked to Sapna Suresh. Without wasting any time, CM Vijayan removed Sivasankar with immediate effect.

A former PRO at the UAE Consulate, Sarithkumar has also been arrested in connection with the case.

The NIA is likely to take up the case formally on Friday

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