New Delhi October 15th
Some of the accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case have links with the gang of Dawood Ibrahim, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) told a special court in Kochi on Wednesday. The NIA, probing the gold smuggling case, also said the accused visited Tanzania several times where the underworld don has an extensive network. Further, the NIA said the accused had challenged the provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in the smuggling case, arguing that smuggling comes under economic offence and no terror angle was involved in the case.
Two of the accused – M Sharafuddin and KT Ramees had visited Tanzania a number of times and met Dawood’s contact Feroze ‘Oasis’. They even discussed ways to smuggle firearms into the country, the NIA said. Earlier, Ramees was caught with smuggled revolvers at the Kozhikode airport. He later got away, saying he was a member of the shooting association and remitted fine.
The agency cited UN Security Council’s narrative summary of Dawood Ibrahim and a fact-sheet published by the US Department of Treasury that specifically mentions his business interests in Africa. “Recent news reports have also specifically mentioned the diamond business of Dawood Ibrahim in Tanzania, managed to by his associate Feroz, considered to be a south Indian by the agencies,” the NIA said.
It went on to add that data retrieved from the mobile phone of another accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case, Sharafudheen, revealed that he had travelled to Africa along with Ramees. The NIA further alleged that the exit of accused Ahammed Kutty and Ratheesh from India at this time indicates that outfits such as Dawood Ibrahim’s ‘D-Company’ may be harbouring the accused outside India.
Earlier on Wednesday, M Sivansankar, former principal secretary to the Kerala Chief Minister had filed a plea in the High Court seeking anticipatory bail. In his plea, Sivasankar said as a responsible government servant, he cooperated maximum with the investigation of the offence.
He said he was summoned by the ED on multiple occasions to confront the statements given by different accused and different witnesses.