Arjun Ayanki, the prime suspect in the gold smuggling attempt at the Calicut International airport in Karipur has been arrested by the Headquarters Preventive Unit of the Customs Department in Kochi on June 28, Monday. The youth was summoned by Customs and he appeared at the Customs office in Kochi on June 28,. The arrest, recorded late in the evening, was following an interrogation that lasted for hours. Arjun is suspected to have links with a racket that is involved in the smuggling of the gold which was seized from the Karipur airport on June 21.
The Customs suspects the involvement of over 30 people belonging to multiple gangs in the recent spree of gold smuggling incidents and the connected incidents of kidnapping the carriers, a Customs officer said, reports The Hindu. Meanwhile, another accused Shafeeque was remanded by the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (economic offences) of Ernakulam to seven days in the custody of Custom. He had been in judicial custody ever since he was arrested on June 21.
On June 21, Customs officials seized 2,33,3 grams of gold from a Malappuram native named Mohammed Shafeeque Melethil from the Karipur airport. The same day five youths died in a road accident in Ramanattukara of the Kozhikode district. Reports suggested that the accident happened when the five youths were chasing another rival smuggling gang whom they thought had possessed the gold allegedly attempted to smuggle by Mohammed Shafeeque. They were unaware that Mohammed Shafeeque was arrested. The Customs, in a statement submitted to the Additional Chief Justice Magistrate (Economic Offences) in Ernakulam, that Arjun Ayanki had links with Mohammed Shafeeque. The latter had given a statement that Arjun had been waiting for him outside the Karipur airport.
The Kannur police on Sunday had located the car used by Arjun, which was suspected to be used for the smuggling of gold. The car was found hidden near Pariyaram Medical College Hospital. Arjun reportedly was previously a member of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth wing of the CPI(M). However, after his name surfaced linking him to the gold smuggling case, he took to Facebook to state that he had no ties with the CPI(M) or the DYFI over the past three years. DYFI state Secretary AA Rahim had told media that the DYFI had no ties with Arjun, who has over 40,000 followers on Facebook.
The car was allegedly arranged by Sajesh, a member of the CPI(M) Moiyaram branch committee in Kannur. The party, however, suspended Sajesh for a year for not being 'vigilant'. The DYFI had expelled Sajesh after his name was linked to the smuggling case.