In a recent development in the controversial Kerala gold smuggling case, statement of an accused has surfaced airing allegations that the Consul General of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, had knowledge about the smuggling activities. The allegation surfaced in the statement given by alleged kingpin in the case KT Ramees, and he has also alleged that Charge dâAffairs Rashid Khamis Al Sheimelli had knowledge about this.
On being asked by the Customs Department whether UAE Consulate officers had any connection with the gold smuggling, Ramees gave a statement that, âConsul General Jamal Al Zaabi and Admin Attache Rashid had knowledge about this smugglingâ.
Rameesâs statement given to Customs last July, has however contradicted the statements given by two key accused Swapna Suresh and Sarith PS, who were former employees of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram. Both Swapna and Sarith had given statements that the Consul General did not know about the gold smuggling and had no involvement.
The case pertains to the seizure of 30 kg gold through diplomatic consignment meant for the UAE Consulate. According to Ramees, Swapna and another accused Sandeep Nair had informed him that smuggling cannot be carried out without the knowledge of UAE Consulate officials. In the statement, Ramees has also alleged that though the Consul General had given permission to meet him, through Swapna and Sandeep, he chose not to as he âbelievedâ the duo. He has also said that USD 1000 per kg of smuggled gold was kept for the Consul General.
However, in the statements of both Swapna and Sarith, the duo had claimed that they had lied to Ramees and Sandeep, that smuggling through diplomatic consignments was carried out with the knowledge of Consul General and that he has to be given commission for the same. But this commission, as per Swapna and Sarithâs statement, was shared by the duo.
Meanwhile, both Swapna and Sarith in their statements similar to Ramees, had alleged that Charge dâAffairs of the Consulate Rashed Khamis, knew about the smuggling and that he was paid a total of USD 3000, in June.
Notably, Rashed Khamis had left India days after Swapna and Sarith were caught in the case.
Meanwhile, Rabins K Hamid, an accused who allegedly facilitated gold smuggling from UAE, has been remanded to the custody of National Investigation Agency (NIA). He was brought to Kochi from Dubai following the lookout notice issued by NIA.
Also Read: Gold smuggling accused Ramees had history of smuggling and hunting wildlife: NIA