UAE Diplomats Knew Of Gold Smuggling, Accused Tells Customs
United Arab Emirates (UAE) Consul General Jamal Al Zaabi and Admin Attache Rashed Khamis Ali Musaiqri Al Shemeli, who was in charge of the Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, were aware of the UAE-Kerala gold smuggling, an accused in the case has revealed to a probe agency.
Rameez KT, the accused under custody in connection with the UAE-Kerala gold smuggling case, has told Customs officials that "UAE Consul General Jamal al Zaabi and Admin Attache Rashid knew about this smuggling.”
He has also stated that “USD 1000 was kept for Consul General as commission for every kilogram of gold smuggled.”
"I had received a total of 4500 AED as remuneration and Rs 50,000 was paid to Sandeep out of the money i.e. 1500 USD per kilogram which the investors had given which is to be paid to Consul General. USD 1000 per kg was kept for the Consul General," he has revealed in the statement.
However, Rameez has added in the statement that he had not met Al Zaabi in person.
On July 05, Thiruvananthapuram Air Customs had seized 30 kg of smuggled gold worth Rs 15 crore from a consignment addressed to an official at the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.
Following the seizure, Swapna Suresh, an operations manager at Space Park under the Kerala government, her friend Sarith PS, a former PRO at UAE Consulate, and Sandip Nair, a businessman in Thiruvananthapuram, were taken into custody by the National Investigation Agency.
Since then, grilling the accused, different probe agencies have taken at least a dozen into custody from Kerala, including Rameez, in connection with the gold smuggling case.
Interestingly, the probe agencies also suspect terror links in the gold smuggling case and have widened their probe to UAE and Tanzania.
Last week, while denying bail to an accused in the gold smuggling case, the NIA had said in the court that the accused might have connections with proscribed terrorist Dawood Ibrahim.
The NIA deposition, seen by The Lede, had revealed that Sharafuddeen KT, accused No 13 in the gold smuggling case, has close nexus with Rameez, accused No 5, and Rameez had smuggled gold from Tanzania to UAE.
On Monday evening, the NIA managed to secure the arrest of Rabins K Hameed, an Ernakulam native and one of the five who was absconding in UAE in connection with the gold smuggling case. He was flown into India with the help of Interpol.
According to an official in NIA, Rabins, while being in the UAE and India had conspired with Rameez, besides arranging funds and purchasing gold at Dubai for smuggling to India through diplomatic baggage.
On July 10, quoting Swapna’s bail application, The Lede had reported first that Rashed Al Shemeli was the official to whom the smuggled gold consignment was addressed.
Interestingly, with diplomatic immunity, UAE consulate official Rashid Al Shemeli flew to New Delhi on July 12 and from there to Dubai.
Consul General Al Zabi had left India before the COVID-19 lockdown was announced on March 25.
In the statement, Rameez has also revealed that the gold was smuggled to India through a UAE citizen named Dawood Al Arabi 12 times.
"Once I had seen (co-accused) Shameer concealing the gold in a cutting machine and packing the same while he was in Dubai. They had sent gold through Sadam Hussain, Mohammed Hasim, Saleem, and Faisal Fareed," Rameez KT has said in the statement.
It is being reported that Faisal Fareed is under UAE police custody in connection with the UAE-Kerala gold smuggling case and will be flown to India soon.
Meanwhile, Customs tweeted on Tuesday that the Calicut Air Intelligence Unit has seized 245 gm gold of 24 carat purity worth Rs 12.25 lakh from a passenger who arrived from Dubai by Flight No IX 1346.
“Gold was concealed as a rod inside a hollow tyre shaft of trolley bag and as chain and coins inside the check-in baggage,” the tweet read.
In another tweet, the Calicut team had seized 435.5 grams of compound gold from a passenger from Dubai by an Indigo flight.
“The compound gold was in two capsule-shaped packets concealed in the rectum of the passenger,” the tweet read.
Parliament data this September had revealed that around 11,000 kilograms of gold worth Rs 3122.8 crore has been seized by authorities in 16,555 gold smuggling cases reported in Indian airports since 2015 till August 2020.