The decision to transfer the Customs officials, who are probing the gold smuggling case, has been withheld. This comes amid criticism over the Customs Department’s transfer order.
The order included the transfer of six superintendents and two inspectors attached to the Kochi unit of the Customs, who are presently probing the case, to other units.
In the order issued on Wednesday, which was signed by Commissioner Mohammed Yousaf, a total of 42 officials from various units are being transferred. And, this included the key personnel presently probing the gold smuggling case. However, with the sudden transfer of those probing the gold scam being criticised, the Commissionerate of Customs (Preventive) (CCP) took up the matter with officials in New Delhi. While the transfer order has been withheld, it is yet to be cancelled.
Muallappally Ramachandran, President of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC), on Thursday criticised the transfer of the Customs officials, alleging it was a coordinated move by the state and Central government to sabotage the case.
It was the Kochi wing of the Customs, which unearthed the gold smuggling case, with a package arriving at the Thiruvananthapuram airport under the name of the UAE Consulate.
The present unit had announced that none will be spared and all those who have the slightest of links with any of the accused would be called in for taking statements.
The gold smuggling case first surfaced when Sarith PS, a former employee of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, was arrested by the Customs on July 5. He is alleged to have facilitated the smuggling of 30 kg gold in a camouflaged diplomatic baggage to Thiruvananthapuram from Dubai.
The other accused in the case is Swapna Suresh, another former employee of the UAE Consulate, who was employed with the state IT Department, surfaced. Senior IAS officer M Sivasankar, who was the Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and also the Secretary of IT Department, was suspended from the posts soon after allegations surfaced that he has close association with the accused. Following this, Sivasankar was also suspended from service citing that he flouted All India Civil Service rules.
(With TNM inputs)
Watch smuggled gold seized by Customs Department: