The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), which had intercepted the gold being smuggled out from the Kochi Special Economic Zone by employees of gold-exporting firm Rajesh Exports, is likely to hand over the investigation of the case to the CBI.
DRI officials informed ‘Express’ that preliminary discussions were going on over the CBI taking over the case. According to the The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence officials, the decision would be taken only after sending a proposal to the Directorate in New Delhi and then discussed with the CBI.
“Since our agency cannot take action as per the criminal procedures, the corruption aspect has to be investigated by agencies like the CBI and police. We can only intercept and take legal action under the Customs Act, “the DRI officials said. “For a more effective investigation into the corruption taking place in the name of Special Economic Zone, a CBI investigation is recommended. The role of SEZ officials also has to investigated. We will first complete the investigation of the case under the Customs Act. After that, another case by the CBI will be recommended. But it is only in talks now,” the officials added.
The order on anticipatory bail plea of Prashant Mehta, managing director of Rajesh Exports and first accused in the FIR, would be given by the Ernakulam District Sessions Court on Thursday.
Order on the bail pleas of second accused Biju Abraham and third accused Hareesh Babu will also pronounced on the same day.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had arrested one Hareesh Babu, an employee of the company, with 900g gold when he was about to board Island Express train to Bangalore. During interrogation, Babu revealed that it was Biju Abraham, general manager of the company in Kerala, who had given him gold to be taken to the company godown in Bangalore.
He told that he had smuggled gold twice on Biju’s directions. He named another person who too was asked to smuggle gold to Bangalore.
On the basis of Hareesh’s statement, Biju was arrested and the involvement of Prashant Mehta came out.