Sun, 17 Jan 2021

Kochi (Kerala) [India], July 8 (ANI): A petition has been filed before Kerala High Court seeking a probe by central agencies into the case of gold smuggling through a diplomatic channel.

Petitioner Michael Varghese, a journalist from Alappuzha, has made Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and former IT Secretary M Shivasankaran as respondents in the petition.

According to the petition, ''These scams pose a threat even to national security and require immediate registration of an FIR in respect of all these scams and a meaningful and effective investigation by the CBI, NIA, Revenue and Customs authorities in full cooperation with the state police.''On July 5, around 30 kg gold worth Rs 15 crore, concealed in diplomatic consignment, was seized at the Thiruvananthapuram international airport by the Customs Department.

Sarith Kumar, an accused in the case who had previously worked as a public relations officer (PRO) in UAE Consulate-General's office in Thiruvananthapuram was arrested on Monday and remanded to 14 days.

Swapna Suresh, another accused in the case is on the run after the gold was seized from the airport. Suresh was employed in Space Park and Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited (KSITL), which comes under the IT department, a portfolio held by Kerala Chief Minister. Swapna was ousted after being named an accused in the case.

M Sivasankar, who was Chief Minister's Principal Secretary and served as IT secretary, was on Tuesday removed from both the posts.

Moreover, the authorities in the United Arab Emirates have launched an investigation in the case to find out who sent the cargo containing gold to the address of UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.

The Embassy said that the culprits have not only committed a major crime but also "sought to tarnish the reputation of the UAE mission in India" and they will not be spared. (ANI)

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