New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Union Home Ministry on Thursday declared that the sensational gold smuggling case in Kerala will be taken over by the National Investigation Agency, citing national security as the reason for handing over the case to the central probe agency.

"The MHA permits the National Investigation Agency to investigate the Thiruvananthapuram Airport gold smuggling case, as the organised smuggling operation may have serious implications for national security," said the MHA spokesperson in a tweet.

The Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had on Wednesday shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his "intervention for an effective investigation" into the seizure of gold worth crores of rupees from a "diplomatic baggage" at Thiruvananthapuram international airport.

Earlier in the day, a local court sent to the Customs custody a man arrested in connection with the case. Sarith was arrested on Monday following his interrogation in connection with the seizure of gold from the "diplomatic
baggage".

The gold, weighing over 30kg, worth about Rs 15 crore, was seized from a "diplomatic baggage" that had landed by air cargo at Thiruvananthapuram international Airport recently. The package is said to be linked to the United Arab Emirates consulate in the state.

The Customs has said it suspected a smuggling syndicate had misused the name of a person who enjoys diplomatic immunity by sending the gold concealed in a parcel of bathroom equipment.

The Central agencies are looking for a woman, also a former employee of the consulate in Thiruvananthapuram and sacked from contractual service in the state I-T department after her name was linked to the smuggling case.

The UAE said it is investigating the case and "the culprits who sought to tarnish the reputation of the UAE mission in India will not be spared".

Chief Minister Vijayan has denied that anyone from his office made to attempts to shield any suspect in the case.

"This controversial woman in gold smuggling case has no connection with the Chief Minister's Office or IT department. How can this new gold smuggling case anyway related to state government? The parcel did not come to any of the state government agency. The parcel came for UAE consulate. If there is any failure how can state government be responsible? The state government has no role in it," Vijayan had said.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta