In yet another development in the Kerala gold smuggling case, the Customs Department has arrested three more persons who are allegedly involved in delivering the gold to traders.
Jalal, a native of Muvattupuzha in Ernakulam, and Malappuram natives Muhammad Shafi and Hamjad Ali, were taken into custody and their arrests were recorded on Tuesday.
One of the three men, Jalal, was also being wanted for another gold smuggling case. Jalal allegedly worked closely with Rameez, another accused, who was recently arrested in the controversial gold smuggling case.
Jalal's car has also been seized and brought to the Commissionerate of Customs (Preventive) in Kochi. According to a Mathrubhumi report, secret compartments were found inside the car, which is believed to have been used to transport gold.
The case pertains to the seizure of 30 kilograms of gold in a supposed diplomatic bag that was smuggled from UAE to Kerala. The investigating agencies had earlier told the court that the gold had been smuggled to Kerala in a similar fashion earlier this year and even last year. Jalal, Shafi, Hamjad and Rameez (arrested two days ago), are believed to be involved in delivering the smuggled gold to other traders.
The three accused will be produced before the Ernakulam Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate of the Economic Offences Court on Wednesday.
So far, six people have been arrested in the case. The three key accused â€” Sarith Kumar, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair â€” are under the custody of the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The NIA has stated that a preliminary probe shows that the smuggled gold could be used for funding terrorism in India. Another key accused Faisal Fareed, who has been named in the first information report by NIA, and is presently in UAE, is yet to be nabbed.
The smuggling case sparked outrage in Kerala, with Opposition parties demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The CMâ€™s former Principal Secretary M Sivasankar is alleged to have close ties with some of the accused. On Tuesday, documents showing calls records between Sivasankar and accused Sarith surfaced in the media. Following this, he was summoned by the Customs Department for questioning.
Watch gold seized by the Customs: