Suggests links with Karipur gold smuggling racket

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) here on Tuesday submitted a report on the Karipur gold smuggling case accusing a director of a gold jewellery chain of having links with the smuggling racket.

The report on the progress of the investigation was filed before the Ernakulam Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences) Court.

According to the report, prime accused Shabas stated that he had sold 10 kg of gold smuggled into the country to T.V. Mohammad Ashraf, a director of Malabar Gold and Diamonds. Ashraf allegedly bought the gold with the knowledge that it was brought into the country illegally.

The report said Ashraf had confessed to buying the gold from Shabas and speaking to him over the phone.

DRI counsel C.P. Udayabhanu said in court that Ashraf would be arraigned as sixth accused in the case and that he would be booked under Section 135 of the Customs Act, 1962, which deals with evasion of duty.

Shabas was arrested last week in connection with the detention of two women, Rahila Cheerayi and Hiromasa Sebastian, with 6 kg of gold at the Karipur airport earlier this month.

He allegedly handed over the gold to the two women in Dubai so it could be smuggled into the country. DRI officials said he had sent at least 39 kg of gold with the carriers.

Shabas allegedly confessed to the DRI that he had sold 10 kg from this to the jeweller. He also named two other persons with links to the smuggling racket.

Their involvement would be investigated to find more evidence, the DRI officials said.

Counsel for Shabas, Ashik Mohamed Ali, submitted that the accused should not be handed over to DRI custody as he had complained of torture by the investigating officials. After hearing the prosecution and the defence, the court handed over the accused to the DRI for five days.

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