Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Kerala gold smuggling case: Customs official demoted

Bangalore: A senior customs official who had supervised the investigation into the Kerala gold smuggling case has been transferred to a post considered less important after “leaked” statements attributed to a key accused landed the BJP in the middle of the scandal.
N.S. Dev, an assistant commissioner who had been at the helm of the probe into the customs’ seizure of 30kg smuggled gold from the UAE at Thiruvananthapuram International Airport in July, was transferred to a more sedentary job in the legal department on Saturday.
The customs department reports to the Union finance ministry.
No reason has been cited for the transfer.
The customs department had conducted an internal inquiry immediately after the media reported about the “leaked” statement of key accused Swapna Suresh.
As the head of the customs commissionerate (preventive) headquarters in Kochi, Dev had also recorded Swapna’s statement.
Dev, whose rank is that of a superintendent, had dug out a lot of information related to Swapna’s political links, a source said.
It was not clear how the handwritten statement, purportedly given by Swapna to the investigating agency, got leaked as several officials had handled the case.
In the “leaked” statement, it has been claimed that Anil Nambiar, the coordinating editor of the pro-BJP Janam TV, had “requested the help” of the UAE consulate in the state capital to support the party in 2018.
Dev is the second customs officer in Kerala to be transferred in a month after joint commissioner Aneesh Rajan, who had played a key role in busting the high-profile smuggling racket, was transferred to Nagpur from Thiruvananthapuram in end-July.
01/09/20 KM Rakesh/Telegraph
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