NIA to probe Thiruvananthapuram gold smuggling case

The Union Home Ministry on Thursday ordered the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to investigate the Thiruvananthapuram Airport gold smuggling case. The MHA said, “the organised smuggling operation may have serious implications for national security.” 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.  The chief minister apparently wrote the letter in a bid to clear his office role in the smuggling racket.

There were allegations that the Chief Minister’s Office was involved in the smuggling of gold, weighing over 30kg, through diplomatic channel. The bag had landed by air cargo at Thiruvananthapuram international Airport recently. The Customs department has said it suspected a smuggling syndicate had misused the name of a person who enjoys diplomatic immunity.

At present, the Custom Preventive Commissionerate, Cochin is carrying out the investigation in the case registered for offences under Section 104(6)(c) and 135 of the Customs Act 1962. The smuggled stach of gold is approximately worth Rs. 15 crore.