KOCHI: The Customs probing the gold smuggling case has received permission from the Ministry of External Affairs to arraign the former Consul General and Admin Attaché who served at the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram. Former Consul General Jamal Hussain Al Zaab and Admin Attaché Rashed Khamis Ali Musaiqri had left for the UAE last year.
According to Customs officials, the involvement of both diplomats in the gold smuggling incident was revealed during the probe. "Both of them assisted Swapna Suresh and Sarith PS to clear the baggage containing gold that arrived from the UAE. They also were receiving remuneration as per the quantity of gold smuggling on 21 occasions. They are equally involved as other accused persons," a Customs official said.
As the duo enjoyed diplomatic immunity, the Customs sought permission from the External Affairs Ministry before taking further steps against them. "As both of them no more serve as diplomats, they can be made respondents in the case. The External Affairs Ministry has given the sanction to proceed with the case against them. We have also served notice to the Ministry of External Affairs and UAE Embassy," he said.
However, Customs officials are not sure that the duo will turn up for any procedure as part of the case registered in India. "We have approached the Ministry of External Affairs seeking access to the Consul General and Admin Attache. But it seems UAE will not provide any access to these persons. But we can at least take legal steps against them in India," he said.
Of the 21 consignments containing gold, around 19 were addressed to the UAE Consul General. One was sent in the name of the Admin Attaché. Around $100 was charged as commission by these diplomats for smuggling gold on each occasion. The Customs is also probing the role of the Consul General in the case for smuggling out $190,000 from Thiruvananthapuram to Oman. His role in the alleged corruption behind the Waddakanchery LIFE Mission project is also being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).