Kerala Industries Minister EP Jayarajan (file photo)
Kerala Industries Minister EP Jayarajan (file photo)

Kerala minister welcomes Centre's decision for NIA probe into airport gold smuggling case

ANI | Updated: Jul 09, 2020 23:29 IST

Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], July 9 (ANI): Kerala Industries Minister EP Jayarajan on Thursday welcomed the Centre's decision for National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe in the Thiruvananthapuram Airport gold smuggling case.
Speaking to ANI, Jayarajan said that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting a probe by central agencies. "We welcome the NIA probe on gold smuggling. Any probe by central agencies (into the issue) is welcome. The probe should be unbiased and fair. The truth should come out. Kerala CM had demanded the same," he said.
BJP state president K Surendran also welcomed the Centre's decision but cornered the state government.
"The NIA investigation will bring out the truth including those that the Kerala government tried to suppress. The Chief Minister's Office should also be included in the purview of the gold smuggling probe," he said.
Surendran said that the Centre has taken a step that the people of Kerala wished for by ordering an NIA investigation.
A day after Vijayan wrote to Prime Minister requesting "coordinated investigation" by central agencies into the gold smuggling racket, the Centre on Thursday asked the NIA to probe the case.
On July 5, around 30 kg gold worth Rs 15 crore, concealed in diplomatic consignment, was seized at the Thiruvananthapuram international airport by the Customs Department.
Sarith Kumar, an accused in the case who had previously worked as a public relations officer (PRO) in UAE Consulate-General's office in Thiruvananthapuram, was arrested on July 6 and remanded to 14 days.
Swapna Suresh, another accused in the case, is on the run after the gold was seized from the airport. Suresh 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. Swapna was ousted after being named an accused in the case.
M Sivasankar, who was Chief Minister's Principal Secretary and served as IT secretary, was removed from both the posts.
The authorities in the United Arab Emirates have also launched an investigation in the case to find out who sent the cargo containing gold to the address of UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.
The Embassy said that the culprits have not only committed a major crime but also "sought to tarnish the reputation of the UAE mission in India" and they will not be spared. (ANI)

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