ED office in Kochi closed after official tests COVID +ve; probe into gold smuggling halted
Kochi: The investigation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) into the gold smuggling case has come to a halt as one of the officers was confirmed with COVID-19.
An Assistant Enforcement Officer hailing from Telangana was diagnosed with the disease. With this, the officials, drivers and security staff at the ED office in Kochi were quarantined.
Following this, the Kochi office was locked and disinfected. All of the employees were subjected to COVID tests and results came out negative. It has not been clarified how many days the office will remain locked and the quarantine will continue. The probe was stopped when they were going to interrogate the key accused K T Ramees.
The Telangana native official had severe fever after returning from office on Friday night. The test was conducted on Sunday and the result was shown positive on Monday. The said official is living alone and is ordering food from outside.
No clarity over people who were quizzed
There is a lack of clarity in whether those who were interrogated by the ED officials also should be quarantined. They had questioned Bineesh Kodiyeri and minister K T Jaleel on September 9, 10 and 11. Some other people related to the case also were questioned in the recent days.
No information from collectorate
The collectorate authorities did not inform the ED officially that the official was confirmed with COVID. When they contacted the private lab to know the result, they said that it was given to the collectorate and the result will be handed over from the collectorate.
However, the health department contacted the official personally and asked him to stay in a separate room. As soon as the official informed this to the ED office authorities, the top officials asked the staff to remain in quarantine and close the office.