Smuggled gold went to leading Kerala jewellery shop

Kochi, Nov 25 : The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has found that a portion of the gold smuggled into Kerala made its way to a leading jewellery shop in Kozhikode, a top official of the DRI said Monday.

Speaking to IANS, the official, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "Yesterday, we picked up one of the directors of this leading jewellery shop. On interrogation, he agreed that they had purchased more than 10 kg smuggled gold from the gang."

The official revealed that a key member of the smuggling gang, Shahbaz, was picked up three days ago by the DRI.

"The questioning of Shahbaz led us to the leading jewellery shop at Kozhikode, and on interrogation of one of the directors, we were able to find all the links. Till now, we had not been able to know where the smuggled gold finally ended," the DRI official said.

The smuggling gang was busted after the DRI picked up two women from the Kochi airport a few months back. Two more women were later arrested when they arrived at the Kozhikode airport from the Middle East.

The DRI officials found out that the women were mere carriers, working as part of an organised gang.

The probe team arrested another person involved in the smuggling, Fayaz, last month. Following that arrest, officials also zeroed in on three customs officials at Kochi on suspicion that they were aiding the smuggling.

"The director of the jewellery shop maintained that he and his colleagues did not know that the gold was smuggled. We have taken his statement and let him off. Meanwhile, we are continuing our probe as it has come to light that in the past four months, close to 100 kg of gold has been smuggled," the official said.

Earlier this month, the DRI had asked Edavela Babu, the secretary of AMMA (a body of Malayalam film actors), to appear before them as he was found to frequent a flat in Kochi used by the arrested gold carriers.

The DRI questioned Babu for a few hours, but let him off after finding that he had no role in the smuggling.

--IANS (Posted on 25-11-2013)

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