The Customs and Central Excise Department on Friday arrested a State Police Department officer, who was formerly attached to the Emigration check-post at the international airport here, on the charge of abetting the smuggling of gold into the country from the Gulf.
Customs enforcers identified the accused as Nawaz. His rank was not immediately known. They said the suspect would be produced before the Economic Offences, Court, Kochi, on the charge of violating the Customs Act.
The Central Intelligence Bureau (CIB), Kerala unit, had helped the Customs and Central Excise Department identify at least two Emigration Department officials, both on deputation to the agency from the State police, suspected to have abetted smuggling of gold through the airport.
Official sources said the CIB, which handles the Emigration check-post at the airport, had dishonourably discharged them from their duties and repatriated them to their parent department.
The CIB had come under a cloud after a 25-year-old, arrested on the charge of attempting to smuggle two kg of gold into the country from Dubai, told Customs enforcers that he had been tasked to hand over the contraband to a person, who would identify himself as ‘Kunhali,’ inside a toilet near the Emigration Department counter.
Soon, a set of Emigration officials came under the cloud of suspicion. Working in tandem with the Customs investigators, CIB officials verified call data records and surveillance camera footage to identify the suspects.
One Rafique of Ambalathara, suspected kingpin of gold smuggling operation through the international airport here, told Customs officials that one Ismail based in Dubai had sent him at least eight consignments of contraband gold through carriers in the past three months.