Gold smuggling: NIA to invoke UAPA against accused
Kochi: In the controversial diplomatic baggage gold smuggling case, it is hinted that the National Investigation Agency will invoke the UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) against the accused. It is learned that the accused will be booked under Sections 15, 16, 17, 18 of UAPA. These sections charge offences related to terrorism and helping terrorists.
NIA, prima facie noted that organized rackets with international links are behind the gold smuggling. They also asserted that the case is related to national and economic security of the country.
“MHA has permitted NIA to investigate the Thiruvananthapuram airport gold smuggling case, as the organised smuggling operation may have serious implications for national security. Kerala CM had earlier written to the PM for a probe by central agencies,” a home ministry statement said in New Delhi on Thursday.
At the same time, Customs will continue to probe into the case. It is learned that NIA is likely to help Customs to nab Swapna Suresh, the key accused who is absconding.
NIA will probe on the source of the gold, motive behind the smuggling, methods used for it and period of smuggling.
The agency will also investigate whether the gold is exchanged into cash, the involvement of other rackets, people in national and international levels involved in the smuggling and whether the money from gold smuggling was used for terrorist activities etc.
It is reported that the National Investigation Agency has received information on hidden motive behind the gold smuggling. NIA took the investigation of the case after examining that such smuggling and hawala groups have links with terrorist groups. Usually, cases related to national security are handed over to NIA.
As per the amendment passed in the last parliament session, NIA has the right to carry out the investigation on cases related to national security in foreign countries. Earlier, NIA was not allowed to investigate a case on foreign land.
On Wednesday, the central government had hinted that if necessary NIA and Enforcement Directorate will probe into the case.