The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday detained two key accused in Kerala gold smuggling case, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, from Bengaluru in a swift operation after tracking some of the calls they made from their phones, said officials privy to the development.
The two accused were on the run for the last six days after the Customs Department seized 30 kg of gold from an air cargo consignment that had arrived from the United Arab Emirates and was marked to the country’s consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, last Sunday. They will be brought to Kochi in the early hours of Sunday, said an official. It is, however, not clear how the duo slipped out of Thiruvananthapuram, which is under a triple lockdown with an aim to contain the spread of coronavirus disease, and reached Karnataka.
The NIA had taken up the case on Friday and filed first information reports against four persons in the case. In the FIRs, Sarith Kumar, a former employee of the consular office, who is now in the custody of the customs, is named first accused; Swapna Suresh is the second; elusive UAE-based smuggling-kingpin Fazil Pareed is the third; and Suresh’s friend Sandeep Nair is the fourth accused. The FIRs were filed under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
It is the first time that the premier agency, which handles cases related to nationa