The Kerala Gold scam is unearthing the skeletons hidden deep inside the Pinarayi Vijayan-government. After National Investigation Agency (NIA) dug up the smugglers and their intricate connection to the state government it has now been revealed that the money from the scam was being used to finance terror operations in the country and the Malayali film industry.
According to a report in Times of India, NIA in its remand note submitted to the special court claimed that the four accused in the case were part of a larger conspiracy that aimed at financing terrorism in India.
According to the NIA’s remand note, Swapna and Sandeep have conspired together to create monetary instability and destabilize the Indian economy by smuggling a large quantity of gold from UAE. A report in NDTV states that over 180 kg of gold had been smuggled through the consulate and the number can only increase with the investigation moving to a critical stage.
The second phase of the investigation will begin today as the NIA team will hold a joint questioning session with all the accused. This is going to determine the future course of the probe, as till now, the NIA has collected evidence in the form of forged documents and fake seals.
Meanwhile, it is also being reported that the money was being funneled to the Malayali film industry. Although, it should not come as a surprise to anybody as it would not be the first time that black money was being used to finance a particular film industry.
Cinema industry in India, whether it be the mainstream Bollywood industry or the regional industry like Malayalam film industry has always served as the den of black money.
The D-company is infamous for liquidating its black money by investing in Bollywood movies and a similar gambit could have been happening in the South Indian industry. Consequently, it is essential that the financing of movies be scrutinized.
Meanwhile, NIA, which is in the middle of a crucial stage of the investigation has got the support of the Kerala High Court too. On Wednesday the court declined to intervene in the gold smuggling case, maintaining that the NIA should be allowed to move forward with its ongoing investigation.
The gold smuggling racket was reported in the first week of July when the Customs officials seized 30 kilograms of gold, valued at Rs. 15 crores at the Thiruvananthapuram airport from a diplomatic cargo addressed to a person at the UAE Consulate-General.
The scam happened right under Pinarai Vijayan’s nose
The case is expected to inflict serious damage to the Pinarayi Vijayan government in Kerala due to the involvement of its officers.
At the center of the gold smuggling racket were former PRO at the UAE Consulate General Sarith Kumar and Swapna Suresha, an ex-UAE consulate officer who was later serving as a liaisoning officer for one of the firms linked to Kerala government’s IT Department. She was appointed for six months on a contractual basis.
As per Customs, Sarith Kumar is no longer associated with the Consulate but he took advantage of the privileges and immunity enjoyed by diplomatic missions. However, the smuggling bid was foiled and Sarith who had reached the airport to collect the cargo was apprehended.
The gold smuggling racket and the allegations of a nexus between Sivasankar and former UAE Consulate employees Sarith and Swapna Suresh has thus kicked a political storm in Kerala. Facing the storm is Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan. Sivasankar was a part of Vijayan’s office right from his initial days as the Kerala CM.
The matter becomes particularly sensitive because terrorism and the Malayali film industry angle has also been encompassed. The former ascertains more importance as a large amount of Gold that was being smuggled could have irrevocably destabilized the economy.
A scam of this level happened right beneath Vijayan’s nose and he did not even get a whiff of it, sounds suspicious and therefore the NIA is probing all the possible angles.