Customs seeks issual of NBW against ex-UAE consulate employee

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Kochi,Nov 3 (PTI) Customs on Tuesday filed a report in a court here seeking issual of a non-bailable warrant against an Egyptian national,a former employee of the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.

The NBW was sought in a case registered in connection with allegedly smuggling out USD 1,90,000 to Egypt via Oman from the State capital with the help of two accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case.

In a report submitted under sections 156 and 157 of the CrPC before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences), Ernakulam, the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate submitted former finance head of UAE consulate, Thiruvananthapuram, Khaled Mohamed Ali Shoukri, had taken out USD 1,90,000 (equivalent to Rs 1.30 crore) concealed in his handbag.

Shoukri, an Egyptian national, was accompanied by prime accused in the gold smuggling case, Swapna Suresh and Sarith PS, till Oman during his travel from Thiruvananthapuram International airport by Oman Airways on August 7, 2019.

The Customs said the issue came to light during the course of investigation in the case of seizure of 30 kg gold through Air Cargo Complex, Thiruvananthapuram on July 5.

Suresh, in her voluntary statementgiven under Section 108 of the Customs Act, 1962, stated and admitted she and Sarith had accompanied Shoukri from Thiruvananthapuram International Airport to Muscat on August 7, 2019,the agency said in the report.

The main purpose of their trip to Dubai via Oman was to facilitate Shoukri in the hassle-free clearance at Thiruvananthapuram airport to cross the security check,it said.

During custodial interrogation, Suresh, a former employee of the UAE consulate, stated she had seen many times Khalid himself screening his handbags in the X-Ray machine available at UAE Consulate Office, Thiruvananthapuram, in the presence of Sarith, to ensure the currency concealment would not be detected during security check by the CISF at Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, the agency said.

Based on their statements, Customs registered a case and launched an investigation.

The agency submitted that Shoukri may be added as an accused in the case and the report may be accepted.

'Since the respondent is out of India, his presence cannot be secured by the Department under the provisions of the Customs Act.Therefore he needs to be extradited.

For this purpose the court having jurisdiction of the case has to issue a non-bailable warrant against the said respondent, so that the issue can be taken up through appropriate authorities as mandated under bilateral conventions,' the agency said in the report.

It said a detailed investigation is warranted to identify as to whether more people are involved in the smuggling of huge quantities of foreign currency out of India, which is a grave threat to the economy and national security.

As the currency value exceeds Rs 1 crore, the offence committed by the Egyptian national is non-bailable as per provisions of the Customs Act, the agency added.PTI TGB BN WELCOME BN WELCOME