KOCHI: Even as various rackets engaged in the smuggling of drug, gold and ivory tusks, share a rapport with each other as regards their trade, the investigating agencies which give them a chase are increasingly finding it difficult to unravel certain knots connecting one accused with other cases as there is no effective coordination between various probe agencies.
The Excise Enforcement and Anti-Narcotic Squad had arrested as many as five members of a multi-crore drug-gold racket. During the interrogation, the accused had confessed that they had smuggled gold into the state through Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai and Bangaluru airports, besides hawala money trade. However, the enforcement agencies, supposed to probe the economic offenses, have not yet started investigation into the case.
Speaking to ‘Express,’ a senior Customs official said: “We have not received any direction from the higher-ups to take up the case. Since the accused in the drug case have smuggled in gold and are involved in other economic crimes, the case has to be investigated normally by the Customs and other enforcement agencies. May be a direction in this regard would arrive soon,” he hoped.
The Customs Department has so far arrested around 35 persons including airport staff, emigration officials and racketeers in connection with the smuggling of over 2,500 kg of gold through the Cochin International Airport. However, the case has not made much headway in terms of arresting big sharks including jewellers involved in the crime even after busting a racket based in Muvattupuzha.
Speaking to Express, a senior Excise official said: “Though the accused in the drug smuggling case had confessed to the officials that they had brought the stuff from Jammu Kashmir and the racket had cross-border connections, no national investigation agency has started probe into this case.”
“It was only a week and three days after the arrest, that the Intelligence Bureau officials contacted the Excise sleuths seeking inputs related to the crime,” officials said. The fact is that by the time the intelligence agencies swing into action, the other members involved in the case would either flee the state or take steps to destroy evidence or cover up the crime.