Gold smuggling case: Customs department under pressure after 78 officers get transfer orders
Kochi: A large number of Customs officers have been given transfer orders in the midst of the investigation into the Thiruvananthapuram diplomatic baggage gold smuggling case.
The unusual order transferred 78 officers, including some of the top officials. Pressure had been mounting on the Customs officers after the realm of the investigation had widened from that of an ordinary smuggling case. It is considered that the interventions from Political-Industrial sectors are behind the transfer order.
42 superintendents, 15 examiners/customs officers and 21 inspectors/preventive officers were given transfer orders. There are strict instructions that the transfer will have to be completed before July 31.
Customs commissioner states that this was a usual transfer order. However, it comes at an unusual time. The Delhi office of the department is not involved in the order. Top officials of the Customs department stated that these decisions are taken at the Chief Commissioner and Commissioner levels.
There are so many mysteries behind the order that came at a time when the case investigation is at a turning point. The order was released by Kochi Customs Commissioner Mohammed Yousuf without consulting with Customs Preventive Commissioner Sumith Kumar. 22 officers were transferred from the airports alone. Following the strong opposition from Sumith Kumar, the order has been temporarily freezed. But it has not been revoked.
The transfer comes at a time when the investigation is closing in on important links. Out of the 16 people caught until now, 12 are from Kozhikode and Malappuram regions. Most of them have invested in smuggling activities. It is also interesting that most transfers will take place in the Malabar region.