Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Kerala Gold Smuggling Scam: NIA Nabs Key Conspirator Muhammed Mansoor From Calicut Airport

In a key development, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday made their  35th arrest by nabbing key conspirator Muhammed Mansoor, in the Kerala gold scam case that had come to light in 2019 after a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage was busted by the Customs in Thiruvananthapuram. NIA has now arrested Muhammed Mansoor, who had landed at Kochi airport from Dubai on Wednesday morning. 

As per NIA sources, Muhammed Mansoor was intercepted by immigration officials after a lookout notice was issued against him. Mansoor was arraigned as an accused in the gold smuggling case in November last year. "The charge against him is that he was one of the persons who assisted the main conspirators while being in India and UAE," the source added. Besides NIA, ED and the Customs Department are also investigating the case. 

Earlier on Monday, sources had informed Republic TV that the Kerala government is likely to reinstate M Sivasankar, who served as the Principal Secretary to CM Pinarayi Vijayan. This assumed significance amid the LDF's historic win in the recently concluded state Assembly elections after facing flak from the Opposition in connection with the gold smuggling scam. 

As the suspension period of the gold scam accused has expired, the Public Administration Department sought the advice of the Chief Minister's Office for further action, sources revealed. At present, this file is under the consideration of the Kerala CMO. 

The Vijayan-led government in Kerala has also been facing heat in the gold smuggling scam ahead with the opposition seeking the CM's ouster. On July 5, 2020, Customs officials seized 30 kg of gold worth Rs.15 crore at the Thiruvananthapuram Airport from a diplomatic cargo addressed to a person in the UAE Consulate. Sarith PS who worked at the UAE Consulate was apprehended in this regard. Subsequently, Swapna Suresh, an ex-Consulate employee working as the manager of the Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited and M Sivasankar, the ex-Principal Secretary to Kerala CM were also arrested in this case.

09/06/21 Gargi Rohatgi/Republic World


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