NIA suspects Dawood links to Kerala gold smuggling case

Central anti-terror agency gives intel report in a sealed cover to a court, opposes bail for the accused

The NIA quoted the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee’s narrative summary on Dawood Ibrahim and the fact-sheet published by the US Department of Treasury on his gang’s activities in Africa. File photo: Twitter

The National Investigation Agency has cited a report by the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB) to buttress its argument in a Kerala court that the role of the most-wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim’s gang should be probed in the sensational Kerala gold smuggling case. Top state bureaucrats and business wheeler-dealers are allegedly involved in the case.

The NIA said intelligence inputs have suggested that proceeds from gold smuggling were used for anti-India and terror activities. The agency opposed bail for the accused.

The CEIB report, NIA said, was submitted to the NIA Director General in October last year.

“We have shared some inputs from CEIB with court in a sealed cover,” a senior official said. He said even the Financial Action Task Force, a global watchdog, had identified money-laundering and terror financing and vulnerabilities associated with gold.

The Kerala case involves smuggling of around 30 kg gold allegedly through diplomatic channels in July. The gold was seized at the Thiruvananthapuram airport from diplomatic baggage meant to be delivered to the UAE consulate.

Related news: Kerala gold smuggling case: Sivasankar seeks anticipatory bail

Links to the diplomatic channels needed to be examined further by keeping the accused in custody, the NIA told the special court.

According to the agency, one of the accused, Ramees, had said during his interrogation that he had a diamond business in Tanzania and that he had bought gold from the country and sold it in the UAE.

The NIA quoted the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee’s narrative summary on Dawood Ibrahim and the fact-sheet published by the US Department of Treasury on his gang’s activities in Africa. It also referred to reports saying that a man called Feroz, believed to manage Dawood Ibrahim’s diamond business in Tanzania, was said to be from south India, according to intelligence agencies.

“Investigation by detaining all accused in judicial custody till 180 days is absolutely necessary in this crime having transnational ramifications,” the NIA said.

The NIA also said another accused, Mohammed Ali, was a member of “fundamentalist organisation Popular Front of India” and was charge-sheeted by the police in the case of a Kerala professor’s hand being chopped in 2010. He was acquitted as more 90 prosecution witnesses had turned hostile.

Related news: Kerala gold smuggling: ED wants ex-Principal Sec Sivasankar further probed

Scrutiny of data retrieved from Ali’s mobile phone revealed that he had formatted his phone on July 19 after his role in the smuggling case surfaced, the NIA told the court.

Granting bail to the Kerala case accused would also impact the detention of two men in the UAE, the agency argued. Faisal Fareed and Rakim Hameed have been detained in the UAE since August.

“These two have been detained there on our non-judicial request…if these accused in custody get bail, it will have an adverse effect on their detention too,” an officer said.

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