Customs cites grave breach of national security

Agency files final complaint in the diplomatic channel gold smuggling case

The State Ministers, senior officials and politicians were directly called to the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram and also to the residence of the Consul General Jamal Hussein Alzaabi bypassing the State Protocol Department and violating the protocol laid down by the Ministry of External Affairs which “must be considered as a grave breach to the national security,” according to Cochin Customs.

The Customs made these observations in its final complaint in the diplomatic channel gold smuggling case that was filed before the Economic Offences Court, Ernakulam, on Friday.

The agency has named P.S. Sarith and Swapna Suresh as the first and second accused and M. Sivasankar, the former Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, as the 29th accused in the final complaint.

The agency noted that the Consul General, through Swapna and Mr. Sivasankar, had arranged numerous meetings at his residence with the Chief Minister and also at the residence of the Chief Minister, bypassing the Protocol Department and breaching the protocol laid down by the Ministry of External Affairs.

Mr. Sivasankar had deposed that he used to arrange meetings for the Consul General with the Chief Minister when informed by Swapna. He also stated that he and Swapna were always present during the meetings, the Customs noted.

According to the Customs, the statements of Swapna, Sarith and Mr. Sivasankar revealed that the Consul General, Admin Attaché Rashed and finance head of the consulate Khaled Mohamed Ali Shoukry were eager to make money through illegal means. The voluntary statements of Sarith revealed that the Consul General wanted Sarith to make friendly relations with the Ministers, which could support his crave to make money through some illegal means, it said.

The Consul General and the other diplomats ensured that they maintained a cordial relation with the State Ministers for which, they would invite them to the Consulate citing various reasons, the agency submitted.

Swapna, Sarith, Sandeep and K.T. Ramees played a pivotal role in masterminding and carrying out the smuggling operations enticing into their smuggling network the other co-accused, it said.

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