India

UAE to probe gold smuggling at Kerala airport: 'Culprit won't be spared'

UAE to probe gold smuggling at Kerala airport: 'Culprit won't be spared'
On Sunday, the Customs seized 30 kg of gold, valued at Rs 15 crore, at Thiruvananthapuram airport.

Authorities in the UAE Tuesday launched an investigation into the seizure of gold worth Rs 15 crore from a diplomatic cargo addressed to its Consulate-General, at Thiruvananthapuram airport Sunday.

On Sunday, Sarith Kumar, a local resident who had earlier worked with the Consulate-General’s office as a PRO, was arrested after the 30 kg of gold was seized.  Customs Commissioner Sumith Kumar said the gold was found concealed in the form of small cylinders in the cargo, comprising plumbing items, water taps and door locks.

“The authorities in the UAE have launched an investigation to find out who sent the cargo containing gold to the address of the UAE consulate,” the UAE Embassy tweeted today, hours after the Kerala government removed the principal secretary of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for his alleged connection to an accused–a woman employee of the state IT Department who was dismissed from service on Monday.

In a statement, the UAE Embassy said “the culprits who not only committed a major crime but also sought to tarnish the reputation of the UAE mission in India will not be spared,” adding that “we remain committed to cooperating with Indian authorities in getting to the root of the crime.”

Swapna Suresh, who worked as a marketing manager with Space Park, under the Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited (KSITIL), was terminated from service after the arrested main accused, Sarith, pointed to her alleged involvement during questioning.

Suresh’s name cropping up has deeply embarrassed the government, with the Opposition parties claiming that the CM’s Office (CMO) has links to the smuggling racket.