Kerala gold smuggling case : Customs to send notice to ex-UAE officials in Kerala gold smuggling case

Insight Online News

Thiruvananthapuram, June 1 : The infamous Kerala gold smuggling case, which appeared to be in limbo for a while, came alive on Tuesday after the Customs decided to serve notice to two top former UAE officials working at the UAE Consulate here.

According to sources, the latest move has come at a time when the Customs is getting ready to file its complete chargesheet in the gold smuggling case.

During the interrogation of the accused persons in the case, they had testified that the two top UAE nationals, who had left the country after the case surfaced, also had a role in the gold smuggling which allegedly took place under the guise of diplomatic baggage.

As part of the probe, the Customs will now serve a show cause notice to the two officials through the Ministry of External Affairs.

The two officials will be given 30 days’ time to reply to the notice, following which the Customs will proceed according to the due process of law.

The gold smuggling case surfaced on July 5 last year with the arrest of P.R. Sarith, a former UAE Consulate staff here, and then came the arrest of another former staffer, Swapna Suresh, who later worked with the IT department of the Kerala government.

The case pertains to the smuggling of over 167 kg of gold through the import cargo addressed to the diplomats at the Consulate General of UAE here between November 2019 and June 2020.

Things turned bad for Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan after the Enforcement Directorate arrested his secretary and senior IAS officer M. Sivasankar in connection with the case. Sivasankar is now out on bail after spending few months in jail.

The Congress-led opposition used the gold smuggling case as a major campaign issue ahead of the April 6 Assembly elections in the state, though it failed to change the electoral fortunes of the Vijayan-led LDF, which retained power with a resounding victory.

IANS / AGENCY

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