Thiruvananthapuram: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) which is probing the gold and dollar smuggling operations carried out by people associated with the UAE Consulate here has found that a Keralite employee was once booted out by Consul General Jamal Hussain Al Zaabi for reporting about the presence of four Dubai Police officials at his office.
The NIA found that accused Swapna Suresh, who was Jamal's secretary, had pulled the strings for expulsion of Kozhikode native and Consulate PRO and the subsequent appointment of her co-accused P S Sarith in the same post.
The Consul General had expelled the Kozhikode resident on the charges of leaking secret information of the Consulate. Jamal became angry after the Kozhikode resident got ready to disclose to the NIA that along with the diplomats four police personnel of Dubai Police were also working in the consulate.
These four named by him are Abdulla Khanim al Array, Sultan Saeed al Shamshi, Ibrahim Rashid al Nuaimi and Ahmed al Doukhi. They returned to the UAE along with Jamal during the peak COVID-19 phase last year.
The investigators suspect that Swapna and her associates had smuggled 167 kg gold over 22 times under the cover of consulate office, vehicles and diplomatic immunity. Jamal was the Consular General when gold was smuggled 20 out of 22 times.
The investigation agency has concluded that Jamal deliberately removed Swapna and Sarith from the Consulate posts. Even after their removal from the posts, the Consul General gave remuneration to both for the work they undertook on behalf of the Consulate. But their luck ran out as the Customs (Preventive) wing seized smuggled gold in late June last year.
Unitac owner Santosh Eapen has given a statement to the NIA saying that Jamal had operated via Swapna to intervene in a Life Mission project at Wadakkancherry. It was Jamal who signed the construction contract with Unitac for the building of flats with funding from the UAE NGO Red Crescent. In return he allegedly received 26 per cent commission on the Rs 18 crore contribution made by the NGO towards the state government housing scheme.
Subsequently, Jamal also pulled the strings to smuggle abroad Rs 3.80 crore of the 4.40 crore given as kickback by Unitac. He had illegally converted the Indian currency into US Dollars before smuggling them abroad.
Swapna Suresh, Sandeep Nair, P S Sarith and Santosh Eapen - all accused in the smuggling case - have given evidence and statement that Jamal received the commission through his close confidante and consular employee Khalid Ali Shoukri, an Egyptian.