The Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate on Friday formally arrested Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, the two key accused in the sensational Kerala gold smuggling case. The Customs moved a plea in the Special NIA Court here seeking its permission to arrest Suresh and Nair when they were produced before it as their NIA custody period ended today. Considering the petition, the Court granted the Customs permission to formally arrest them.
Earlier, the court sent three accused in the case-- Suresh, Sarith and Nair-- to judicial remand till August 21. Sarith was earlier interrogated by the Customs. The Court also adjourned the bail plea of Suresh till July 29.
In her plea, she has alleged that she was implicated in the crime on a wild imagination without any basis and the case was the offshoot of the political rivalry between the state and central governments, triggered by the colourful and fictitious stories aired by the media.
She claimed that there was no prima facie evidence to attract an offence under Sections 15, 16 and 17 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the case being investigated by the NIA.
NIA has informed the Court that Suresh, Nair and others had conspired together and separately at various places in the state to damage the country''s monetary stability by destabilising the economy by smuggling large quantity of gold from abroad.
In a report submitted in the court last Tuesday, the investigation agency also said it is suspected that the accused had used the proceeds of smuggling for financing terrorism through various means.
Suresh and Nair were arrested by the NIA from Bengaluru on July 11.
Central agencies, including NIA and Customs, are conducting separate probe into the seizure of gold worth nearly Rs 15 crore from a "diplomatic baggage" at the Thiruvananthapuram International airport on July 5.