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Kochi, August 2, 2020
The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the now controversial Kerala gold smuggling case, on Sunday arrested two more people who were allegedly involved in gold smuggling.
The NIA arrested Mohammed Ali Ibrahim and Mohammed Ali. Both of them were produced before the NIA court here, which remanded them to judicial custody.
Incidentally, of the two, Ibrahim was the 24th accused in the chopping of the right hand of T. J. Joseph by activists of the Popular Front of India (PFI) on July 4, 2010, when he was returning along with his family members from the Sunday mass near his home in Muvattupuzha in Ernakulam district.
With the arrest of Ibrahim the NIA which probed the hand chopping case, the "terror angle" in the gold smuggling case gets more credence.
The remand report of the two filed by the NIA said K. T. Ramees, a known gold smuggler in the state who was taken into custody by the Customs last month, testified that he had passed on the smuggled consignment of gold to the two at a parking lot of a hotel in the state capital on June 28 this year.
The gold smuggling case which has large scale ramifications across sectors first surfaced when P. S. Sarith, a former employee of the UAE Consulate, here was arrested by the Customs on July 5 when he was facilitating smuggling of 30 kg gold in diplomatic baggage to Thiruvananthapuram from Dubai.
It turned murkier when the name of Swapna Suresh, a former employee of the UAE Consulate here, and employed with the government's IT Department, surfaced and it turned full circle when their links with M. Sivasankar, a senior IAS officer who held the dual post of secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and was also the state IT secretary, were unearthed.
Following the case, Sivasankar was first removed from both the posts and later suspended from service.