UAE Launches Probe to Find out Who Sent Cargo with Gold to Kerala, Says Embassy

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The UAE Embassy in New Delhi on Tuesday said authorities in the Gulf nation have launched an investigation to find out who sent the cargo containing gold to the address of the UAE consulate.

The response came after Customs on Monday arrested a man, who claimed to be a former employee of the foreign country's consulate in Kerala, in connection with the seizure of gold worth over Rs 15 crore from a "diplomatic baggage" at the international airport in Thiruvananthapuram.

"The authorities have stressed that the culprits who not only committed a major crime but also sought to tarnish the reputation of the UAE mission in India will not be spared. We remain committed to cooperating with Indian authorities in getting to the root of the crime," said the embassy in a statement.

The seizure has set off a political storm in the state, with Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala writing a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking CBI probe into the alleged "influence of the smuggling cartel" at the office Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The Customs authorities seized gold worth "Rs 30 crore illegally brought to our country" from a consignment addressed to the "UAE consulate", he said in the letter. Chennithala said a former employee of the consulate was arrested in connection with the case and a woman is allegedly the kingpin of the racket.

She was employed till yesterday (July 6) as Operations Manager with Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Ltd, under Kerala Government's IT department "and is suspected to be the mastermind in the smuggling. She is absconding and currently the Customs Department has launched a search for her", he said.