Customs questions owner, driver of vehicle that delivered religious text parcels to UAE Consulate

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Kochi: The Customs Department has questioned the owner of the vehicle that was used to deliver parcels containing religious texts from the cargo complex at the Thiruvananthapuram airport to the UAE consulate and also its driver.

In their statements to the agency, both Ali, the owner of the vehicle, and driver Sameer said they were only asked by the Consulate to deliver the parcels and that they did not know what was in them.

The religious books were delivered in 250 packets in a diplomatic parcel on March 4. Of these, 32 packets were delivered to CAPT (Centre for Advanced Printing and Training) and distributed in Malappuram district on the instructions of Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel.

The parcels were delivered through the diplomatic channel and by availing concessions on Customs duty. While religious texts can be received by Consulate officials for personal use, they cannot be distributed outside if duty exemption has been availed on the consignment. The Customs department has now registered a case over the distribution of the religious texts outside the Consulate.  

Meanwhile, the NIA team investigating the gold smuggling case reached the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate on Monday to collect information regarding the case.

Swapna to be presented in court 

Kochi: The NIA will present Swapna Suresh in court on Tuesday to take her into custody for further questioning in the gold smuggling case. The agency had interrogated Swapna for 12 consecutive days after she was arrested from Bengaluru on July 10. 

The NIA’s investigations have found that many of the statements she had made then are not factual. 

The NIA plans to question her again based on the evidence obtained from her digital devices such as mobile phone and laptop about her close ties with M Sivasankar, the former principal secretary to the chief minister, Minister K T Jaleel and some other ministers.

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