Kerala gold smuggling case: Union Home Ministry orders NIA probe

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday ordered the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to investigate the Kerala gold smuggling case. The seizure of 30 kg gold from a ‘diplomatic baggage’ that had landed by air cargo at the Thiruvananthapuram international airport on July 5 has led to a major political controversy in the southern state.

“The MHA permits the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to investigate the Thiruvananthapuram airport gold smuggling case, as the organised smuggling operation may have serious implications for national security,” a home ministry spokesperson said.

The home ministry’s order comes a day after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene for an “effective investigation” into the Thiruvananthapuram airport gold smuggling case.

Vijayan on Tuesday removed his secretary M Sivasankar, who also held the post of IT principal secretary, after the BJP and Congress targeted the official for the appointment of a woman Swapna Suresh, in the IT department. She is the prime suspect in the gold smuggling case.