On Monday, the National Investigative Agency (NIA) informed that they have arrested a key accused in the sensational Kerala gold smuggling case. He was extradited from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to India via Kochi International Airport.
The 42-year-old accused, identified as Rabins K Hameed, is a resident of Muvattupuzha In Ernakulam district of Kerala. A probe by the NIA into the gold smuggling case has revealed that the accused had arranged funds for purchasing gold from Dubai to be smuggled to India through diplomatic baggage.
Besides, he had ‘arranged for the concealment of gold’ in electronic equipment in Dubai so that it can easily be smuggled to Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. A key conspirator in the case, Hameed worked alongside other accused, namely, Ramees KT, and Jalal AM. A Special NIA court had earlier issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Rabins K Hameed. The NIA will now seek his custody, after being produced in the court.
The NIA statement further stated that Rabins was wanted in connection with the seizure of about 30 kg of gold from the Thiruvananthapuram airport by customs. The gold, concealed expertly to evade duty, was being smuggled in baggage marked with diplomatic cargo with the address of the UAE consulate in Kerala. The NIA had later arrested main accused Swapna Suresh and others in the case.
The main accused Swapna Suresh and another former employee of the consulate named Sarith were using forged documents to claim diplomatic immunity to escape custom check. They were allegedly using their false diplomatic status to smuggle gold from UAE.
Kerala gold scam: CMO under scrutiny
The involvement of top officials in the Kerala government and especially from the CM’s office has been under scrutiny in the case. Media reports had stated that senior bureaucrat M Sivasankar, the principal secretary of CM Vijayan had made calls to custom officials to clear Swapna Suresh’ baggage.
Earlier, in a sensational disclosure, the prime accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case – Swapna Suresh had revealed to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had held multiple meetings with the Consul General of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2017. The prime accused Swapna Suresh, in her statement to ED, had disclosed that it was Vijayan who had also “unofficially” recommended the name of his then principal secretary M Shivasankar as the state government’s official point of contact with the UAE’s consulate.
Swapna Suresh has also admitted before the probing agency that the private meetings between Vijayan and the UAE diplomats were held at CM Vijayan’s official residence in Thiruvananthapuram. Suresh was arrested by the NIA in July after she was found misusing fraudulently obtained diplomatic immunity papers to smuggle gold from UAE. The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is investigating the case, had also informed the NIA Special Court in Kochi that Swapna Suresh had “good influence” in Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s office.