8,000 religious books brought to Kerala without informing protocol office

KT Jaleel
KT Jaleel

Thiruvananthapuram: The national agencies, probing the gold smuggling case, have found that the state protocol office was not informed when 8,000 religious books were brought to the UAE Consulate in March.

A total of 250 boxes, containing 32 books each, arrived at the Thiruvananthapuram airport on March 4. Of this, 1,024 books were handed over to Kerala Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel. Now, a probe has also been initiated into the whereabouts of the remaining 6,976 holy books in 218 boxes.

As per the rules, the permission of the state protocol wing has to be sought when baggage is brought in via the diplomatic channel. Even if permission is not sought in real-time, most often a written document is submitted later on.  However, the state protocol officer was not informed about the parcels that arrived on March 4.

These parcels arrived from Dubai via the diplomatic channel and were addressed to the UAE Consul General. After Customs clearance, these were reportedly taken to the UAE Consulate. Of this, 32 boxes were handed over to Jaleel after three months.

Some packets are reportedly still remaining at the Consulate, but the probe agencies have not been given permission to check this.

Minister Jaleel had told the Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials that the 32 boxes were taken to the C-apt (Kerala State Centre for Advanced Printing & Training). And one box was opened and 26 religious books were given to the employees there. The rest were taken to Malappuram in C-apt's vehicle, the minister added.

Jaleel also informed the ED that the religious books taken to Malappuram were not distributed and were kept at two establishments.

The ED had also taken the statements of the C-apt employees.

The Customs has found that one holy book weighed 567gm. The parcels weighed 4478kg, as per the diplomatic baggage receipt. This contained 250 packets.

Probe against Jaleel based on two complaints from Kerala

The ED initiated a probe against Minister K T Jaleel based on two complaints filed by BJP state president K Surendran and former Youth Congress state secretary Siddique Panthavoor.

These two complaints were handed over to the ED by the Union Home Ministry.

Nine complaints were made against Jaleel. UDF convener Benny Behanan MP was among those who gave in a complaint against Jaleel to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In his complaint, Surendran alleged that Jaleel was involved in gold smuggling via the diplomatic channel and that he had benami assets.

Jaleel had accepted Rs 5 lakh aid from the UAE Consul General in violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, Siddique Panthavoor said in his complaint.

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