Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan
Photo credit: ANI


Customs has served show-cause notices to 53 persons, including M Sivasankar, former principal secretary of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, along with Swapna Suresh and her co-accused in the gold and dollar smuggling cases ahead of filing of charge sheet. Those who have been served notice include consul general Jamal Husain Al Saabi, attache Rashid Khamis and chief account Khalid.

The notice also records serious charges against the government, which provided UAE consul general Y category security so that he could enter and exit the airport without security check. It is alleged the special security arrangement was used for smuggling after four employees of the consulate were given diplomatic passes.

Customs maintains that there have been three kinds of smuggling: one by Swapna Suresh, Sarith and Sandeep; the second by the consul general himself and the third the smuggling of dollar out of the country on behalf of government functionaries.

Customs alleges that the havala money belonged to top functionaries of the government and the smuggling operations were carried out with support of the government. The smugglers had connections with highly-placed people, including ministers, the Customs notice claims.

It is alleged that the consul general had asked the main accused, including Sarith, to establish direct contact with ministers, who violated protocol to deal with the consulate. The interactions were carried out without knowledge of either the external affairs ministry or the protocol officer.

The notice accuses highly-placed officials and functionaries of the government of serious violation of protocols and other established practices. According to the notice, meetings in connection with the clandestine operations were held even in the chief minister’s office.

Background check on Jamal Al Saabi has revealed that he had indulged in smuggling even during his stint as UAE consul general in Vietnam. The smuggled wares included banned drugs, cigarettes etc

The consul general and his accomplices were given punishment transfers, as a result of which they got posted at the Thiruvananthapuram consulate.

The consul general had allegedly instructed Sarith to procure a note counting machine to check whether the money received from the smuggling included fake notes.

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