The Customs Department on Sunday arrested one more person in connection with the seizure of 30 kg of gold from diplomatic cargo at Thiruvananthapuram Airport, addressed to the UAE Consulate — and has decided to question senior IAS officer M Sivasankar for his alleged close links with members of the smuggling ring.
Sources in the department identified the person arrested as K T Rameez (33), who is facing prosecution in three earlier smuggling cases. Earlier, Sarith P S, a former PRO at the UAE’s consulate, Swapna Santosh, a former executive secretary at the Consulate, and their friend Sandeep Nair, were arrested in connection with the case.
Sources said they will be questioning Sivasankar, who was removed as Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, for his alleged close links with Sarith, Nair and Santosh.
“We have nabbed Rameez based on the deposition of Sarith. Rameez is a prominent figure in the smuggling syndicate, which has been financing smugglers abroad. Sarith and the other two arrested — Swapna Santhosh and Sandeep Nair — have been facilitating the smuggling through the diplomatic route. All these persons have been getting commission for their roles in the network,’’ said a source in the Customs.
Swapna and Sandeep were arrested from Bengaluru on Saturday by the NIA, which is looking at a terror angle to the case after invoking the UAPA.
Regarding Sivasankar, sources said, “Sivasankar will be questioned to ascertain whether he has any role in this racket…”
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