MLA involved in Kerala gold smuggling case: Customs report

The MLA and Swapna communicated through Ramees

gold rep reuters Representational image | Reuters

An MLA was also involved in the gold smuggling racket that was busted in Kerala on July 5, the Customs Department has said in a secret report.

The name of the MLA is mentioned in the report the Customs has submitted to the Union Finance Ministry along with an application to invoke ‘COFEPOSA’ (Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act) against the main accused, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair.

The MLA has not been named as an accused or witness in the case.

The MLA's connections with the accused is mentioned on page 5 of the confidential report with the file number ‘PD12002–06–2020 COFEPOSA’. It says K.T. Ramees is the mastermind of the gold smuggling operations.

The report says the MLA was a key link in the smuggling ring and supports the claim with the statements of witnesses. The role of the MLA is also mentioned in the details of the communication between the accused as part of the gold smuggling. But at no point during the gold smuggling operations did Swapna and the MLA interact directly. They communicated through Ramees, who is yet to reveal the role of the MLA.

Investigating officials say that Ramees destroyed one of his mobile phones a day after (on July 2) information came out that a diplomatic parcel containing gold had been detained by the Customs department at the Thiruvananthapuram Airport.

Ramees got calls on this phone from Anoop Mohammad, an accused in the Bengaluru drugs case. This SIM card is registered in the name of a Tamil Nadu native.

Investigators yet to figure out 'high-profile Malayalee’ mentioned by Swapna

Investigators have not yet been able to find out about the 'high-profile Malayalee' that Swapna mentions in her statement, which has been attached to the Customs report submitted to the Centre.

According to Swapna, the high-ranking official intervened to get the diplomatic parcel containing 30 kilogrammes of smuggled gold that was seized by Customs officials, released.

Swapna had told the co-accused that it was UAE Consulate attaché Rashid Khamis who had informed her about the involvement of the high-ranking official. This indicates that the person who was involved is an expatriate, said Customs officials.

(This story was first published on onmanorama)


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