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BJP, Congress question how Kerala gold smuggling accused managed to cross states during lockdown

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Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) | July 12, 2020 5:11:51 AM IST
After the National Investigation Agency (NIA) traced and detained Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, both accused in the Thiruvananthapuram airport gold smuggling case, from Bengaluru, both BJP and the Congress have questioned how the duo managed to exit the State particularly when a triple lockdown has been in place here since last Sunday.

BJP state president K Surendran demanded that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan should explain how Swapna and Sandeep could leave the State despite the triple lockdown.

"How the police who detain the poor let go of Swapna, who travelled with her family. The duo easily left the state when ordinary people need a pass, special permits and police stop their vehicles at multiple points. With the audio recording coming from the hideout on a TV channel, people are realizing who is protecting Swapna," he alleged.

Other leaders from both parties also took to Twitter raising similar doubts as to how the accused in such a high profile gold smuggling case were able to reach Bengaluru crossing Kerala border and Tamil Nadu, giving police a miss.

"Swapna Suresh & her accomplice Sandeep Nair arrested by #NIA in Bengaluru. They not only escaped from triple locked down Thiruvananthapuram but also from Kerala. CM cum Home Minister @vijayanpinarayi has a lot to answer," BJP general secretary (organisation) B L Santosh tweeted.

Congress leaders KS Sabarinathan MLA and Shafi Parambil also raised similar questions regarding how the accused were able to reach Bengaluru crossing Kerala border and Tamil Nadu.

"Why was an investigation team constituted by the government just minutes before both of them landed in NIA net, " the Congress leader asked.

Meanwhile, the residence of Sandeep Nair, one of the accused in the gold smuggling case, is being raided by officials of the Customs Department at Aruvikkara. Nair was taken into custody by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday.

A three-member NIA team had on Saturday questioned Sarith, another accused in the case, at Commissionerate of Customs (Preventive), in Kochi.

Swapna Suresh is set to be produced at the NIA office in Kochi on Sunday. Her family members have also been taken into custody by NIA, which is probing the case.

The Customs Department had on July 5 seized 30 kg gold worth Rs 15 crore concealed in diplomatic consignment at the Trivandrum international airport.

The NIA on Friday registered a First Information Report (FIR) against Sarith Kumar, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, the three persons allegedly involved in the case.

The agency has charged them with offences under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

Suresh was on the run following the gold seizure. She was employed in Space Park and Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited (KSITL), which comes under the IT department, a portfolio held by Kerala Chief Minister. She was ousted after being named an accused in the case.

Sarith Kumar, who had previously worked as a public relations officer (PRO) in UAE Consulate-General's office in Thiruvananthapuram, was arrested on July 6. (ANI)

 
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