NIA spells out modus operandi of gold smugglers

K.T. Ramees, who formed a terrorist gang for smuggling gold through diplomatic channel, carried out two trial runs using consignments without gold on July 14, 2019. These consignments were received and cleared by P.S. Sarith, another accused, at the International Airport, Thiruvananthapuram, according to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

In its charge sheet filed before the NIA Special Court, the agency said the terrorist gang apart from Sarith comprised Swapna Suresh, Sandeep Nair, A.M. Jalal, P. Mohammed Shafi, Saidalavi E. Bava, P.T. Abdu, Rabins Hameed, Hamzath Abdulsalam, T.M. Samju, Shamshudeen and others. The smuggling of large quantities of gold was carried out with the intention of threatening the economic security of the nation, it said.

The Hindu had earlier reported the NIA finding that the accused had formed a terrorist gang for smuggling gold.

Providing the details of the alleged modus operandi of the accused, the NIA said Ramees had conspired with Jalal and others to send consignments from UAE to test secrecy and reliability of smuggling channel.

Sarith, who was the Public Relations Officer of the Consulate General of UAE, Thiruvananthapuram, during September, 2019, had retained with him the sample letter pad of the Consulate General with authorisation letters on behalf of the Consul General. These letter pads had the forged signatures of the diplomat and the seal of Consulate General, Thiruvananthapuram, the charge sheet noted.

Sarith, who recognised that the import consignments for diplomats were exempted from Customs inspections, shared the information with Sandeep Nair, who in turn communicated it to Ramees.

Later, Ramees asked Sandeep Nair to explore with Sarith, the possibility of smuggling gold through UAE diplomats. However, after his discussions with Swapna, Sandeep Nair suggested to Ramees the possibility of using the import cargo addressed to the Consular General of UAE in Thiruvananthapuram for smuggling gold.

Sarith hatched a conspiracy with Swapna and Sandeep Nair in May-June, 2019 to facilitate gold smuggling by Ramees through import cargo of the Consulate General of UAE, against a commission of $1,000 US for every kg of gold thus smuggled.

It was also decided that Ramees would raise the gang to collect funds to provide logistical support and also to recruit more persons both within India and in the UAE for smuggling gold.

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