Gold smuggling case: Customs department seeks permission to interrogate attaché
Kochi: The Customs department will seek permission from the Ministry of External Affairs to interrogate the attaché at the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram in connection with the diplomatic baggage gold smuggling case.
The officials decided to question the attaché based on the information provided by the accused Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, who are in custody. The Customs officials are preparing about 20 questions to be asked to the attaché.
Swapna and Sandeep reiterated their statement during interrogation that they used to give 1,000 Dollars per kilogram as commission to the attaché each time they smuggled the gold. With this, the involvement of the attaché in the case has come to light.
The Customs is of the opinion that the attaché must be interrogated. For this, the officials will seek permission to quiz the attaché at where he is currently located. The attaché had returned to UAE during the probe. So, the officials will seek help from the INTERPOL.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) also will be part of the investigation. Apart from this, the officials are seeking legal advice about the possibility of a CBI probe into whether Sivasankar misused his position as the principal secretary.
During the interrogation on Wednesday, it was confirmed that the amount earned from gold smuggling was handed over to the attaché in dollars. An illegal dealer in Thiruvananthapuram exchanged the currency into Dollars for Sandeep Nair and team. These were then handed over to the attaché.
The Customs department took the currency dealer into custody and questioned him. The officials will also check the CCTV visuals at the consulate to know how the bag was carried from there. The attaché can easily take the amount abroad as he has diplomatic privilege. With this, the Customs has figured out one path in gold smuggling.