DRI arrests four cleaning staff at Kozhikode airport for gold smuggling

Fazalu Rahman

Kozhikode/ Kondotty, Malappuram: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has arrested four cleaning staff for helping to smuggle 3.42 kg of gold via the Calicut International Airport.

The DRI arrested Abdul Salam of Thenjipalam, Abdul Jaleel of Kodangad, V Prabath of Areekode and Mohammed Sabik of Veloor. They are the cleaning supervisors at the UDS company, that was given the contract for cleaning works at the airport.     

They allegedly took out gold that was concealed in the Karipur airport washroom and handed it over to two other members of the gang. 

As these two made away with the gold in a car, the DRI officers intercepted the vehicle. The culprits then rammed their car on to the personnel. Two of the DRI team were injured in the attack on Sunday.

Mukkom native P Nissar, who was in the car, was arrested on Monday. The officers are on the hunt for Areekode native Fazalu Rahman, 34, who was with Nissar in the car. The DRI officers had conducted searches at his home. The car was also seized.

Working for 27 years, but still a temporary staff

Najeeb, who was seriously injured in the attack, has been a temporary staff with the DRI Kochi unit for 27 years. He had to undergo emergency surgery on Monday. But he is unlikely to get the treatment expenses from the government, as he is a temporary staff. He would not get any benefit or aid even if he comes under attack while on duty. Mostly, the colleagues at DRI come to the help of temporary staff.

Another temporary staff Ajith has also been working at the DRI unit in Kozhikode for 27 years. 

As they have been working with the DRI since 1993, they have a lot of experience in intercepting the contraband. They also have accurate information on several smugglers.

Other DRI officers also rely on their expertise and knowledge. Both Najeeb and Ajith have worked with senior IRS officers and have won their acclaim. However, they were never made permanent. They are also awarded a paltry Rs 500, no matter how big a smuggling consignment they intercept.

A petition submitted by them, seeking to make their jobs permanent, is under the consideration of the Central Administrative Tribunal in Kochi.

Though a key agency of the central government, the DRI reportedly does not even have enough number of vehicles. Most of the time, they depend on private vehicles. 

Meanwhile, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has directed the central revenue secretary to ensure that medical aid is provided to both the injured personnel.

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