KOCHI: After the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), it’s now the turn of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to initiate probe against four Customs Inspectors who were arrested for aiding gold smugglers at Kozhikode and Kannur airports.
CBI’s Anti-Corruption Unit in Kochi has launched a preliminary probe against the Customs officers who were aiding the smuggling racket. Busting the smuggler-official nexus, the DRI had arrested four customs officers - Rahul Pandit, Rohit Kumar Sharma, Krishan Kumar and Sakendra Paswan - recently. Rahul was working with Customs Preventive Unit in Kozhikode while the other three were deployed at the Kannur airport. The DRI investigation into the seizure of around 11.35 kg gold worth Rs 4.05 crore at Kannur airport on August 19 led to the arrests.
DRI investigation revealed that Customs officer Rahul Pandit was assisting the smugglers for past one year and he had amassed illegal wealth while working at Kozhikode airport before he was moved to Customs Preventive Division. “The allegation against Rahul Pandith was of a serious nature. Even his subordinates were well aware of his corrupt practices. There was a long demand to shift him from the airport duties. As part of the probe, the wealth amassed by the accused persons will be verified,” the officer said.
DRI probe had revealed that Pandit used to charge up to Rs 1 lakh for permitting a carrier assigned by the smugglers to come out from airport safe. He was staying in an apartment owned by a gold smuggler.
“We suspect that Pandit also helped other smuggling rackets while working at the Kozhikode airport. We are verifying his mobile phone data and call records to get details about people he was in touch with. He mostly communicated with the smugglers using WhatsApp,” said an officer from DRI.