Crime India World

Customs imposed  penalty of  Rs 7.8 crore on two  accused

By our Legal  Correspondent

Thrissur,, Nov 10  (IVC)   The  Customs  department has  imposed  Rs 7.8 (Seven point eight ) crore  in the sensational  diplomatic  gold  smuggling  and export  of dollar illegally  to Cairo (Egypt)  in July  2020.

                The  Customs has imposed a fine of  Rs 50  lakh  on the former Principal  Secretary  to Kerala Chief Minister, M Sivasankar  who used  his  clouts  as the Secretary to Chief Minister   to facilitate  gold smuggling   and Rs 65  lakh  for his role in the export  of dollar  illegally to Cairo. In all   Sivasankar has to  pay a huge amount of  Rs.1.15 (One  point  fifteen) crore  in two cases.

                This was the first time in the history of Independent India    that the Customs imposed  fine    on  an IAS   official for his proven involvement of smuggling gold and dollar.

                The  Customs also  imposed  penalty on the prime accused  in the diplomatic gold smuggling

Swapna Suresh   to the tune of Rs 6 (Six) crore  related  to the smuggling  gold through  diplomatic  baggage of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapurm.

                The  Customs also imposed  a fine of Rs 65   lakh on Swapna Suresh  on her  proven role in the dollar  smuggling  case.

                In all  the Commissioner  of Customs (Preventive) Kochi  imposed a penalty  of  Rs 66.6  crore  on  44  accused  persons ,including Sivasnkar and Swapna Suresh,   in the   diplomatic  gold smuggling.

                The  Customs  officials at the International Airport   at  Thiruvananthapuram had seized  gold  weighing over  30  kg , valued at  Rs  14.8  crore     on  July 05, 2020.

                The  contraband was  found inside the  diplomatic baggage  and addressed to  the UAE Consulate.

                Mr  Sivasankar, then the  Principal  Secretary  to the Kerala Chief Minister  Pinarayi  Vijayan  was arrested  by the  Customs  after  Swapna  Suresh submitted  that he had  abetted  the gold  smuggling  activities and he was “in  the  know  of things”.

                The  Customs officials  revealed  that  the smuggling racket  successfully  brought  illegally  to Kerala  about 136.8  kg  gold  in between   July 15, 2019  and  June 27, 2020 through  the Air Cargo Complex, Thiruvananthapuram worth  Rs 46.49  crore.

                The racket  brought smuggled gold  20 times  in  the  name of  the Consul General Jamal  Husein Alzaabi and three times  in the  name  of  the  then Admin Attache  and Ex Charge de Affairs of the Consulate. 

                The  customs said that 167 kg  gold  was  smuggled  through the active  assistance of  Cappithan Agencies, Customs Broker.  The  customs also imposed a penalty  of Rs 4 crore  on  it  for their role in smuggling gold.

                It was  alleged  that  the intervention of Sivasankar  and the former Keala Assembly  Speaker, P Sreeramakrishnan   had directly  involved  in facilitating smuggling  of gold on behalf  of the  Chief Minister of Kerala.

                The smuggling syndicate  also illegally   routed the sale proceeds of the smuggled  gold  to Dubai  through hawala channels  which     was  further  used  for  purchase of  the  next  consignment of  gold intended  to  be smuggled  into India  and continued  this process throughout  the   operation,  the Customs  officials said.

                As per the   order  issued  by  the  Commissioner of  Customs (Preventive), Kochi  under  Section 114 (penalty  for attempting to  export goods  improperly)  of  the Customs Act, 1962,  on  October  30, Khaled  Mohamed  Ali Shoukry,  former  finance  head  of the  UAE Consulate, has  to  remit  a penalty  of Rs 1.3 (One  point  three) crore  for  smuggling  foreign  currency, amounting to

$1,90,000 equivalent to  Re 1.3  Crore, to  Cairo, Egypt  from  the  Thiruvanthapuram international  airport  on August 07, 2019, concealing it in handbags.                 The  Customs imposed on six accused  in the dollar smuggling case  as penalty an amount  of Rs 4.9  crore  and in the gold smuggling  case  another Rs 66.6 crore  on 44  accused  persons in this  regard,  thus altogether the Customs  imposed penalty  of Rs 71.5  crore.

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