The Customs, which had on Sunday seized 30 kg of gold concealed in diplomatic cargo addressed to the UAE Consul-General office here, has told the Kerala High Court that the accused had smuggled in gold earlier, including for other gangs, under the guise of diplomatic cargo.
Objecting to the anticipatory bail application of accused Swapna Suresh, the Customs said in a written submission in the HC, “Involvement of higher government officials (in the smuggling) cannot be ruled out at this stage, which can only be unearthed if the investigating agency is permitted to interrogate Swapna.”
The NIA has named Consulate ex-PRO Sarith P S, Swapna Suresh, their friend Sandeep Nair and Fazil Fareed as the accused.
The Customs told the court that “the consignment sought to be imported as a diplomatic cargo contained 30244.90 grams of gold, supposedly without knowledge of Consul Charge D Affairs of the Consulate”. It said that the Consul confirmed that he used to take Sarith’s help for odd jobs.
About Sarith’s modus operandi, the Customs said he directly paid clearing charges for the cargo in cash against the general practice of making such payments by the Consulate through RTGS. He used to take deliveries of the cargo in his car as against the practice of taking delivery through the Consulate vehicle.
The Customs also searched for Sandeep Nair, who is absconding, and recorded the statement of his wife Soumya B S. Soumya said that Sandeep used to smuggle gold inter alia with the help of Suresh, Sarith and others under the guise of diplomatic cargo. They allegedly used to smuggle gold for other gangs also.
Suresh, who worked as executive secretary at the Consul-General office, used to arrange papers for getting its cargo cleared from the air cargo complex.
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