The Enforcement Directorate has filed a money laundering complaint in connection with the Kerala gold smuggling case, PTI reported on Wednesday. The case has been registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The agency has registered an Enforcement Case Information Report, which is equivalent of a police FIR, unidentified officials told PTI. The complaint was filed after studying the first information report filed by the National Investigative Agency under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The ED is the third agency to launch an investigation in the case after Customs Department and National Investigation Agency. However, a money laundering complaint would mean the the ED can attach properties of accused people. The central agency will investigate if the proceeds of crime were generated by the accused by laundering funds that were earned through the alleged gold smuggling racket.
On July 11, the National Investigative Agency had detained Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, the two main suspects in the case, in Bengaluru. Another accused, Sarith, has been arrested by the Customs Department. The fourth suspect identified as Fazil Fareed is still on the run.
On July 8, the Congress in Kerala wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate into the case, and its alleged link with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s top aide M Sivasankar.
On July 5, gold weighing 30 kgs concealed in imported plumbing material was seized by the Customs officials upon inspection of an air cargo consignment addressed to the Consular General of the United Arab Emirates in Thiruvananthapuram district. Officials valued the gold at Rs 15 crore.
Sarith and Suresh worked at the consulate-general’s office until six months ago. Later, the state government had appointed Suresh as marketing liaison officer of the Space Park project under the IT Department’s Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited. Her contract was terminated after the allegations surfaced. A senior Indian Administrative Service official M Sivasankar was also removed as the principal secretary of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan after Opposition leaders questioned Sivasankar’s alleged association with Suresh.