Kochi: The Customs have filed a chargesheet against 29 accused, including the former principal secretary to the chief minister, in connection with the gold smuggling case. Customs said that the principal secretary M Sivasankar, 29th accused, was aware of the smuggling happening through diplomatic channels, media reports said. The Customs filed the chargesheet at the Ernakulam Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences) court.
The case pertains to the smuggling of over 165 kg of gold on a number of occasions through diplomatic channels in 2019 and 2020. Former UAE consulate employee P S Sarith is the first accused. Swapna Suresh, a former contract staff with Kerala government and UAE Consulate-General’s office and Sandeep Nair are other accused, the reports said. K T Rameez was the mastermind behind the smuggling.
Contrary to NIAs claim, the Customs have not mentioned about using the proceeds of smuggling for terror activities, the reports said.
In July 2020, over 30 kg of gold was seized by customs from diplomatic baggage at Thiruvananthapuram airport. The National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Income Tax Department are also probing the case.