In a shocking development, the Customs Department caught 30 kilograms (kg) of Gold bars smuggled through diplomatic baggage of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. The Air Customs in Thiruvananthapuram found the huge baggage in Gold bars from cargo three days ago. The gold bars were packed as 12 packs (each pack of 2.5kg of gold bars) from the diplomatic baggage of UAE Consulate. This is the first time in India that diplomatic baggage is being misused in such a shocking way. Normally diplomatic baggage is avoided by customs screening and delivered fast to the concerned Consulates and Embassies sent from their country.
Kerala’s airports are always on the radar of customs as the majority of the gold smuggling in India happens through this state. Due to the role of diplomats from UAE, Indian Customs authorities are tight-lipped and in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Finance in Delhi. The entire 30 kg smuggled gold bars through diplomatic baggage is now in the custody of Air Customs in Thiruvananthapuram. Intelligence agencies are looking into the matter and sleuths feel that certain people in the Consulate are hand in glove with smuggler networks in Kerala and Dubai.
Meanwhile, Jai Hind TV, Congress party run TV channel in Kerala published a report that one senior official in Kerala Chief Minister’s office tried to hush-up this grave issue and lobbied with officials to release the gold bars to the UAE Consulate in the State Capital. This powerful official in the Chief Minister’s Office is a regular visitor to Dubai and is a contact point with many Malayali businessmen in the Middle East.
It is expected that Air Customs will issue a press release soon after consulting the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Finance in Delhi. It is widely believed that Kerala’s jewelry shops having branches in UAE is behind this big smuggling of 30 kg gold bars in connivance with UAE Consulate staffers in Kerala and Dubai.