NIA to include Calicut airport in gold smuggling investigations

NIA to include Calicut airport in gold smuggling investigations
Karipur Airport, Kozhikode.

Malappuram: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) will also look into cases detected at the Calicut International Airport as part of its inquiries into the diplomatic baggage gold smuggling racket.

The NIA has asked the Customs Department to furnish details of all the gold smuggling cases detected at the airport in the last two years and those arrested.

K T Ramees, a native of Malappuram who the investigating agencies believe was the mastermind of the conspiracy to sneak in gold through the Thiruvananthapuram Airport using the diplomatic channels, had smuggled the precious metal through the Calicut airport many times, sources said.

In the last financial year, Air Customs seized 230 kg of smuggled gold at the Calicut airport. In 2018, it had seized 178 kg of gold.

Most of the arrested in these cases were only gold ‘carriers’. However, the NIA wants to find out if they had any connection to Ramees and the other accused in the Thiruvananthapuram smuggling case that was detected on July 5.

The agency has sought all the details, including phone numbers, of those arrested in connection with the cases at the Calicut airport.

The NIA has also asked for information about cases of gold smuggled through the air cargo complex of the airport.

Ramees was an accused in a case of smuggling of 17.5 kg of gold that was attempted through the complex in 2015.

Even though there is a high possibility of gold being smuggled in large quantities through air cargo, the X-ray machine at the Calicut airport cargo complex has not been functioning since last November. The NIA will see if this was a move to help the smugglers.

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