In 2013, a UAE diplomat was nabbed with 37 kg gold

In 2013, a UAE diplomat was arrested with 37 kg gold

New Delhi: While the Trivandrum Airport gold smuggling case has caught everyone’s attention for the use of the diplomatic channel, earlier a diplomat himself was caught trying to smuggle the precious metal.

A United Arab Emirates diplomat was caught in 2013 at the Delhi airport for gold smuggling.

When a diplomat is caught in such cases, they are protected by the Vienna Convention and are, therefore, deported to their home country. They are not arrested and their names are not revealed.

The diplomat, accompanied by a prominent businessman from Delhi, arrived from Singapore on March 11, 2013. Indian officials seized 37 kg gold, which was then worth Rs 10 crore, from the diplomat's suitcase. This dwarfs the 30 kg of gold seized at the Trivandrum International Airport on July 5.

Although he insisted that his baggage cannot be checked since he was a diplomat, the DRI sleuths did not budge.

He was detained at the airport by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials for 12 hours. The UAE then recalled him.

A similar incident happened in Bangladesh, too. In March 2015, the first secretary of the North Korean embassy arrived at Dhaka airport with 27 kg gold. He said his baggage can’t be checked, but Bangladesh took a tough stand and North Korea recalled him in 72 hours.

NIA, RAW investigating 2019 case

In 2013, a UAE diplomat was arrested with 37 kg gold
Passengers seen wearing masks as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 (Coronavirus) at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on March 15, 2020. (Photo: IANS)

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) are investigating the May 31, 2019, smuggling case in which 25 kg gold was seized in Thiruvananthapuram.

Five officials, including Customs superintendent V Radhakrishnan, were arrested. Serena, a woman accused in the case, ran a beauty parlour with a Pakistani in Dubai.

The NIA and RAW took up the investigations due to the involvement of the Pak national.

The country's premier agencies — the CBI, NIA and ED — have taken up the latest case. On Thursday, the Union Home Ministry said the National Investigations Agency - NIA - will look into the case since it may have "serious implications for national security."

The Customs had seized a diplomatic baggage with about 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crore. Swapna Suresh, a former employee of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, is the prime accused. Her accomplice P S Sarith Kumar has been arrested.

Sarith was given the contract to deal with parcels arriving at the airport in the names of employees of the consulate, Officials at the UAE Consulate had claimed.

Swapna, who is now absconding, has claimed in her anticipatory bail plea that she had no role in the smuggling operations and that she was being framed.

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