The Customs Department arrested two more persons in connection with the gold smuggling case on Wednesday night. The two arrested were alleged financiers who reportedly helped in procuring the gold.
The two persons whose arrest was recorded on Thursday have been identified as Malappuram Manjeri native Mohammad Anwar (43) and Vengara native Said Alavi (60). Customs are interrogating the arrested persons to identify their connection to the case. According to reports, Said Alavi has been previously involved in smuggling activities and is also reportedly an accused in a previous COFEPOSA (Conservation of foreign exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Act) case.
Meanwhile, Customs officials are also questioning Mohammad Anwar, who was also arrested, on his connections with hawala rackets through which gold is smuggled. According to reports, investigating officials are also probing smaller jewellery shops in Malappuram to understand if gold is being procured via the black market.
A jewellery owner from Malappuram has also been arrested in connection with the case. However his details are yet to be released by the department.
The arrested persons and their links to Ramees, another person who was taken for interrogation over the gold smuggling case are being probed.
The sensational gold smuggling case came to light on July 5 when 30 kilograms of gold was detected by the Customs department in a diplomatic baggage at the Thiruvananthapuram airport. The diplomatic bag was held back and opened in the presence of the Consul General in the airport. The bag contained Rs 15 crore worth smuggled gold which was cylindrical in shape and hidden in steel rods. Apart from this, the bag also carried food packets.
The Customs Department then took PS Sarith into custody. Sarith who is a former employee of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram had come to collect the bag at the airport.
After the case was taken over by the National Investigation Agency (NIA,) which alleged that gold was smuggled for funding terror activities, an FIR was registered against four accused. The FIR registered under various provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) names Swapna, PS Sarith, Sandeep Nair and Fazal Fareed - a UAE resident who helped in the gold smuggling - as accused.
Meanwhile, the Consul General of the Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram Rashid Khasmi has also left Kerala. According to reports, he flew out of India two days ago.