Observing that the accused in the high-profile Kerala gold smuggling case are yet to be identified by crucial witnesses, an Economic Offences Court in Kochi on Tuesday sent Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair to the custody of the Customs department for five days.
Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences) court in Kochi also noted that the statements of some high profile persons are being recorded by the Customs department and the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
"The investigation is at an infant stage. Arrest of more persons named accused (in the FIR) Faizal Fareed and Rabins, who allegedly control smuggling operation, is required for the purpose of a future successful investigation. Statements of some high profile are being recorded by customs, as well as NIA," the court noted.
"In this context, I find force in the submission of Special Public Prosecutor that the cross-checking of those statements is essential to test the credibility and also to unravel the truth. In addition to that, the accused are yet to be identified by the crucial witnesses. For that purpose, detention in custody and custodial interrogation is inevitable," it added.
This comes at a time when M Sivasankar, former principal secretary to Kerala Chief Minister, has been questioned by the NIA for the second consecutive day. Sivasankar was yesterday questioned by the NIA for over nine hours in connection with the case.
According to NIA, investigation in the matter has revealed Sivasankar shared close proximity with the key accused in the gold smuggling case Swapna Suresh and Sarith PS.
The matter, which pertains to the smuggling of gold in the state through diplomatic channels, had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crores, smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage, was busted by customs in Thiruvananthapuram last month. (ANI)