One of the accused is son of a smuggler held in Rajiv assassination case

Officials of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) busted a gang involved in gold smuggling and seized more than 21 kg of gold biscuits at Sirkazhi in Nagapattinam and Thiruthuraipoondi in Tiruvarur districts early on Saturday morning.

Five persons were arrested in this connection, including S. Anandan, who is said to be the son of Shanmugam, an alleged smuggler who committed suicide in custody after he was arrested by the CBI in connection with the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case in 1991. DRI officials declined to comment when asked to confirm whether the suspect was Shanmugam’s son.

The seized gold biscuits have Swiss Bank seals.

The smuggled gold came to Sri Lanka from where it was suspected to have been smuggled by sea into Kodiakkarai in Nagapattinam. The officials seized the consignment when it was being transported to Chennai. Another DRI official said the gang was involved in smuggling for several years and only five from the gang had been detained. The DRI is on the lookout for at least 15 more persons, the officer added. According to sources, 15 kg of gold was seized from Anandan, and his friend, whose vehicle was intercepted between Muthupettai and Thiruthuraipoondi. The vehicle seized in Sirkazhi is said to have contained five gold biscuits. The two arrested in Thiruthuraipoondi were due to be produced in a court in Mannargudi and the rest in the Sirkazhi court.

According to the sources, Anandan was earlier booked by Tiruchi Customs for allegedly smuggling a large quantity of gold near Paravai in Velankanni. He was arrested in November 2011. His father’s name was linked to smuggling activities in Kodiakkarai and Vedaranyam that came to light after security agencies cracked down on pro-LTTE activities after Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination.

Shanmugam was arrested on charges of harbouring some members of the core team that plotted Rajiv’s assassination. The SIT said Shanmugam escaped from custody at night and was found hanging from a tree.

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