KOCHI: The Customs suspect the involvement of a north Kerala network in the smuggling of gold from the UAE using loopholes in the diplomatic channel. On Tuesday, the Customs took into custody two persons suspected to have links with the smuggling network even as a person surrendered. The arrest of Muvattupuzha native Jalaal, a suspect in multiple gold smuggling cases reported in the state, was recorded late in the evening after he surrendered. The identities of the other two were not revealed. The Customs took them into custody based on the confession of Rameez, who was arrested on Sunday.
“We suspect the involvement of a group with a vast network in north Kerala, especially in Malappuram and Kozhikode. We are collecting details about others in the network,” an officer told TNIE. Jalaal is suspected to have played a key role in procuring and financing gold in several smuggling cases. The Customs claimed that Jalaal procured gold from Rameez. The gold smuggled by Swapna and gang went to Rameez who delivered it to other agents.
“Gold smuggling is a multi-layered activity. Swapna may not know the other agents,” the officer said. The customs also seized a car, used by Jalaal, which had cavities underneath the seats to store smuggled gold while transporting it via road. The registration details of the vehicle (KL 65 L 6584) revealed that it was registered by Abdulla P P, a native of Cherur, Kannamangalam, in Malappuram.
When TNIE attempted to contact the owner of the vehicle, a lady picked up the call and said the car was bought in Abdulla’s name but was not used by him. “The car was registered using our address. It is used by one of our friends,” she said. She refused to reveal other details including her name. Customs officers, the vehicle bought last year was altered to smuggle gold.