UAE attaché tried to oust Customs officer who foiled gold smuggling bid: Customs report
Kochi: The administrative attaché in the UAE consulate attempted to oust the Customs officer who foiled the gold smuggling attempt, it has come to light. He tried influencing higher officials to penalize Customs Assistant Commissioner Rama Moorthy who led the team that opened the diplomatic baggage at Thiruvananthapuram airport.
Also the attaché entrusted a Keralite in top position to send back the diplomatic baggage carrying gold to Dubai before the officers could open it. This has been stated in a report which the Customs submitted to the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau.
UAE consul general Jamal Hussain Al Zaabi had returned to Dubai on April 21. After this, administrative attaché Rashid Khamis Al Ashmiya was in charge of the consulate. He had asked Swapna Suresh about the ways to make money easily. It was then she told him how to smuggle gold through diplomatic channel.
With this, Rashid demanded 1500 US Dollar (approximately Rs 1.10 lakh) as commission for smuggling gold each time and Swapna and Sarith agreed. Until then, Sarith was forging the signature to create the consent letter from the consulate to show to the Customs officials.
After fixing the commission, the attaché started signing the documents directly. The commission to the attaché was delivered by Swapna Suresh and with the help of the driver.
The Customs seized the diplomatic baggage on June 30. Customs Assistant Commissioner Rama Moorthy gave a letter requesting the presence of attaché while opening the diplomatic baggage.
But attaché was infuriated on this matter and summoned Swapna Suresh. It was also pointed out that the Customs cannot open the baggage without the permission of the UAE ambassador.
With this, the attaché directly contacted the UAE embassy and asked them not to grant permission to open the baggage. The attaché then asked Swapna to use her influence to oust Rama Moorthy from Customs.
Sarith called Rama Moorthy and told him about the consequences of opening the diplomatic baggage. The attaché gave a letter from the consulate asking Rama Moorthy to send back the baggage. Attaché Rashid told Swapna that the UAE Ambassador had promised him the baggage would reach Dubai within July 5.
Swapna also stated to the probe team that Rashid told her the ambassador had entrusted a Keralite with high influence with this task. This person is able to intervene in the issue at all levels, as stated in the Customs report.
UAE consul general Jamal Hussain Al Zaabi also had called Swapna and informed that they have done everything to send back the baggage without opening.