Kerala

MEA permits Customs to issue notice to former UAE consulate officials

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has granted permission to the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate here to issue showcause notice to the then Consul General, Attache, and a few other officials of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) consulate in Thiruvananthapuram as part of a probe into the alleged violation of protocol and procedure in a case in which consignments of the Koran were imported from the UAE by the consulate as diplomatic baggage and distributed in some parts of Kerala.

Former Minister for Higher Education and Wakf K.T. Jaleel had been questioned in 2020 on the charge of accepting the consignments of the Koran and a vast quantity of dates that were imported by the consulate.

Customs sources said they had sought the MEA’s permission to question the consulate officials as they enjoyed diplomatic immunity. The Customs charge is that the State government had accepted copies of the Koran and dates that were imported by the consulate officials for their personal use in violation of the Customs Act.

The former Minister’s initiative in distributing the Koran in some parts of northern Kerala had kicked up a political storm, as the allegation of violation of protocol was raised against him. It was further alleged that some packets of the holy book were taken for distribution in official vehicles of some departments under his administrative control.

Defending his action, Mr. Jaleel had contended that the distribution of the holy book ought to be viewed only as a cultural activity.

In the meantime, the trial in the gold-smuggling case, which too had been registered by the Customs in the wake of the dollar smuggling case, is set to begin by March, Customs sources added.


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Printable version | May 24, 2022 2:14:01 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/mea-permits-customs-to-issue-notice-to-former-uae-consulate-officials/article38339793.ece