Kochi: Even as the investigation into the case of smuggling gold through the diplomatic channel of UAE consulte in Thiruvananthapuram is on, National Investigation Agency (NIA) has indicated that it may take over more cases.
Different units of NIA are gathering details of gold arrivals through different airports of the country. The scope of the envisaged investigation will cover whether there are any similarities between the smuggling incidents in different stations, whether the gold has been arriving from the same origin and whether the gold is going eventually to jewelleries or for activities of anti-national outfits.
Right during the NIA court hearing on the custody application for accused Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, NIA had made it clear that it would get into the origin of all the gold arriving in India.
When NIA was formed, fake currency cases were not part of its jurisdiction, and the agency started inestigating fake currency cases when currencies started being nabbed in huge quantity from different airports inKerala.
Before NIA started its unit in Kochi, it was its Hyderabad unit that registered about eight cases of fake currency in Kerala. What the agency is trying now is to bring gold smuggling also in its ambit in a similar manner.
So far, only Customs and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence have been investigating gold smuggling cases. NIA is now aiming to dig into the conspiracy behind it as well, through a wide- ranging investigation, when other agencies probe into the tax evasion aspect alone involved in them.
Preliminary information which NIA has collected shows that the gang who smuggled gold through diplomatic channel have delivered about 150 kg gold in Kerala since Sep 2019. However, NIA's assessment is that all of this was not through the diplomatic channel, and a part of it have been through carriers.
Smuggling through airports of Bengaluru, Mangaluru and Chennai is also under NIA's scanner.