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NIA to probe Kerala gold smuggling case

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A day after Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting “coordinated investigation” by central agencies into the gold smuggling racket, the Centre on Thursday asked the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to probe the case.

“MHA permits National Investigation Agency (@NIA_India) to investigate the Thiruvananthapuram Airport Gold smuggling case, as the organised smuggling operation may have serious implications for national security,” the spokesperson of the Ministry of Home Affairs tweeted.

Vijayan in his letter had said that the case needs to be investigated because it has serious implications of undermining the country’s economy.

The smuggling racket came to light on July 5 when the Customs department seized 30 kg gold from an air cargo consignment from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the country’s consulate in the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram.

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The main accused in the case, Swapna Suresh who moved the high court for anticipatory bail on Thursday has claimed in an audiotape sent to a news channel that she had called the Customs to clear the consignment after being asked by the UAE consular office.

On Wednesday, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan had said that the government would get to the bottom of the case while describing the incident as a serious lapse from which the chief minister cannot absolve himself.

UAE launches probe in Kerala gold smuggling case, says culprits won’t be spared