Meanwhile, the PMO’s office has decided to intervene in the high profile case.

Gold smuggling One more person interrogated by customs PMO intervenes
news Gold smuggling case Wednesday, July 08, 2020 - 14:19

On Wednesday, the Customs Department interrogated Sowmya, the wife of Sandeep Nair, at its Kochi office, in connection to the case of gold smuggling in a diplomatic bag. Sandeep is reportedly the brother of key accused in the case Sarith PS, though this has not been confirmed by the investigating authority. 

Sandeep is the founder and managing director of Carbon Doctor, a Nedumangad based start-up ‘engine detox service’, which specialises in removing carbon pollutants from automobile engines. 

Ever since the racket was exposed and Sarith was taken into custody, Sandeep has been absconding. The customs have now quizzed Sandeep’s wife Sowmya for more details on the case. 

Meanwhile, Swapna Prabha Suresh, a former employee of the UAE Consulate whose name has cropped up in the racket remains absconding. The customs is also on the lookout for Swapna. 

The gold smuggling case was exposed on Sunday when the customs officials from Thiruvananthapuram airport seized 30 kilograms of smuggled gold in a diplomatic bag. The bag was reportedly authorised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Department in the UAE and sent to the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.

The bag was addressed to the wife of the the charge d’affaires of the UAE consulate. On Sunday the bag was opened in the presence of the Consular official when Sarith had come to pick it up and the customs officials realised that the latter had a fake ID. 

The customs department, which comes under the Union government, cannot detain or question the Consular official as per the Vienna Convention on Consular Affairs, and hence Sarith was the only person taken into custody.

The issue become political after several reports emerged that Swapna has connections with top politicians in Kerala. On Tuesday, top bureaucrat M Sivasankar was removed from his post of IT Secretary and Principal Secretary to the Kerala CM after public allegations about his connection to Swapna who was a contract staff engaged by a third party company in a project for the  state IT department. 

According to reports, after several letters from opposition leaders in Kerala, the Prime Minister Modi’s office too has decided to intervene in the high profile case, as it was disappointed that information about UAE consulate staff reached the public domain.

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