Kerala gold smuggling case: Customs issue summons to State Protocol Officer

·2-min read
Representative image
Representative image

Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], Aug 12 (ANI): In connection with the gold smuggling case, the Customs Department has issued summons to the State Protocol Officer questioning whether any duty exemption certificate was given to the diplomatic baggage that arrived in Thiruvananthapuram Airport for the UAE Consulate.
Confirming that summons has been received, State Protocol Officer B Sunil Kumar told ANI that the department will provide all details which the Customs Department has asked for.
"We have received a notice from Customs. As part of their investigation into gold smuggling case, they wanted to know certain details including whether any duty exemption certificate was given to UAE consulate for the consignment that reached here. They have asked for details which we will be providing," Kumar said.
According to a Customs official, as per the protocol, it is mandatory to take prior approval for consignments above Rs 20 lakh and mandates duty exemption certificate from MEA or State Protocol Officer.
As per the MEA protocol division handbook 2018, "The Customs Duty Exemption Certificates for consignments valued at Rs. 20,00,000/USD 33,000 or less may be submitted along with a Self-Certification and requisite documents directly to the Ministry or the Protocol Department of the State Government for attestation."
It says that the said protocol applies for all "Diplomatic missions, Consular posts offices of UN and its specialised agencies and other accredited international organisations in India."
Meanwhile, a Kochi court today postponed the pronouncement of order on the bail petition filed by Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the high-profile Kerala gold smuggling case, to Thursday.
Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences) had last week reserved its order on Suresh's bail plea after hearing arguments from all the sides. She had moved the court claiming she was innocent and that the current case is the offshoot of the political rivalry between the state and the Central government.
During the arguments, the Customs Department had submitted that it has strong evidence against Swapna and added that the wife of another accused in the matter has given a statement against her in the matter.
The matter, which pertains to the smuggling of gold in the state through diplomatic channels, had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crores, smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage, was busted by customs in Thiruvananthapuram. (ANI)