Kerala Gold Smuggling Case Accused Linked to Dawood Gang: NIA 

“KT Ramees and M Sharafuddin visited Tanzania and met one of Dawood’s close aides,” an NIA official said.

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India
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In a major development in the Kerala gold smuggling case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has claimed to have found links between one of the accused and India's most-wanted underworld don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar and his gang.

The NIA probe has shown that one of the accused visited Tanzania, where the 1993 Mumbai attacks accused has vast networks, purportedly to launch his diamond business and to smuggle firearms.

The submissions were made by the anti-terror probe agency in a special NIA court in Kochi on Wednesday, 14 October.

“KT Ramees and M Sharafuddin visited Tanzania on several occasions and met one of Dawood’s close aides, Feroze ‘Oasis’, and discussed ways to smuggle firearms into the country,” an NIA official related to the probe told IANS.

The official said that Ramees visited Tanzania first in 2016 to start a diamond business there. He then smuggled one kilo gold from Tanzania to the UAE in 2017.

Ramees was caught with 13 smuggled revolvers at the Kozhikode airport in November 2019, while returning from Dubai, he added. Ramees had brought the guns for the Palakkad rifle club, it was alleged. However, the charge was denied by the rifle club.

Another NIA official said that they are checking all the details of Ramees, as he has been linked to gold smuggling as well as firearms smuggling.

What’s the Case All About?

The gold smuggling case first surfaced when PS Sarith, a former employee of the UAE Consulate in Kochi, was arrested by the Customs Department on 5 July when he was allegedly facilitating the smuggling of 30 kg gold in a diplomatic baggage from Dubai to Thiruvananthapuram.

The case became murkier when Swapna Suresh, a former employee of the UAE Consulate and later employed with the Kerala IT Department, came into the picture. Her links allegedly stretched to the chief minister as she had links to M Sivasankar, Kerala's senior IAS official and secretary to Pinarayi Vijayan. She later revealed that Sivasankar was her mentor.

Vijayan first removed Sivasankar from the post of his secretary and also the State IT secretary, and later suspended him from service.

Suresh and her alleged accomplice Sandip Nair were arrested from Bengaluru five days later. A multi-agency team started probing the case and 30 people were arrested.

Besides the NIA, ED, DRI, Customs and Income Tax are also part of the investigation. The ED has also questioned Kerala Higher Education Minister KT Jaleel in connection with the alleged import of holy books and dry dates.

(This story has been edited for clarity.)

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