By Our Special Correspondent
Kochi, Nov 09 (IVC) The Customs Department has imposed a penalty of Rs 50 lakh on M Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
The Customs Department also imposed a fine of Rs 6 (Six) crore on the prime accused Swapna Suresh in connection with the sensational case related t to the smuggling of gold through diplomatic baggage of the UAE Consulate at the Thiruvananthapuram airport
The fine was imposed by the Commissioner of Customs (Preventive) Kochi, under section 112 (a) and (b) of thee Customs Act, 1962 for improper importation of goods.
A total of Rs 66.6 crore was imposed as penalty on 44 accused in the case , including two former diplomats of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.
The Customs officials at the international airport in Thiruvananthapuram had seized gold weighing 30 kgs valued at Rs 14.8 crore on July 05, 2020. It was found inside the diplomatic baggage and addressed to the UAE Consulate.
Mr Sivsankar was arrested by the Customs after Swapna Suresh submitted that he had abetted the gold smuggling activities and was “ in the know of things.”
A penalty of Rs 6 crore was imposed on Jamal Husein Alzaabi, the then Consul General, UAE Consulate, Thiruvananthapuram. The Customs also imposed a penalty of Rs 6 crore on Rashed Khamis Alimusaiqri Al Ashmei, the then Admin Attache and Ex Charge de Affairs of the Consulate.
The order stated that the key accused, including P S Sarith and Sandeep Nair , have to pay a fine of Rs 6 crore each. K T Rameez of Malappuram, considered as the mastermind behind the gold smuggling case, should also pay a fine Rs 6 crore. Cappithan Agencies, Customs broker, has to remit a fine of Rs 4 crore . S Jayasankar, husband of Swapna Suresh has been imposed a fine of Rs 2 crore.
The customs stated that the smuggling racket had successfully smuggled about 136.8 kgs of gold between July 15, 2019 and June 27, 2020 through the Air Cargo Complex Thiruvananthapuram. The smuggling syndicate also illegally routed the sale proceeds of the smuggled gold to Dubai through hawala channel which was further used for purchase of the next consignment of golg intended to be smuggled into India , and continued this process throughout the operations, it said.