Thiruvananthapuram: The Customs and the Enforcement Directorate are acting in tandem to investigate the role of Dubai-based Keralites in carrying out the financial deals, including money laundering, done at the behest of a few prominent people holding important positions in Kerala.
The involvement of two UAE Malayalis became clear during the investigations carried out by the agencies based on the statements given by Swapna Suresh and P S Sarith to Customs. These two accused in the diplomatic gold smuggling case had disclosed that they had laundered money belonging to a politician after converting Indian currency into US dollars.
During the course of the probe it came to light that high-ranking officials of the UAE Consulate in the Kerala capital had handed over to the duo dollars smuggled to Dubai. These persons also act as middlemen facilitating investments in Sharjah and Dubai in various sectors. They are said to be investors in Bengaluru-based educational ventures.
The investigation agency plans to summon them for questioning with the intervention of the Ministry of External Affairs. In order to avoid delay in bringing them here the Customs officials might visit Dubai to question them.
The Customs and ED are moving jointly in this case. If more investigations are required, the probe agency would approach the authorities to get their passports cancelled and have them deported at the earliest.
Consular staff wanted
Meanwhile, the authorities are in the process of bringing back to India to an ex-employee of the UAE Consulate for his role in currency smuggling.
It is alleged former accounts officer of the consulate Khalid Mohammad Ali Shoukri, an Egyptian, had left India with Rs 3.15 crore received as kickbacks over a Life Mission project in Wadakkanchery.
Customs has also shot off a letter to the Ministry of External Affairs to get more information on certain high officials who were working with the Consulate.
During their questioning, Swapna and Sarith had revealed a part of the money smuggled out included ill-gotten wealth from other sources too. In the probe that followed, the ED got information that huge amounts of money belonging to certain influential persons was converted into dollars and sent to Dubai.
CM Raveendran to be questioned again
Kochi: The Enforcement Directorate will question Kerala chief minister’s additional private secretary C M Raveendran again in connection with the money laundering case linked to the gold smuggling racket.
The questioning hinges on certain information received from the Uralungal Labour Contract Society. Raveendran has already been questioned thrice this month.
The ED believes it will take at least six months for filing the final chargesheet in the case. Moreover the investigations into the assets of former principal secretary to the chief minister M Sivasankar have not been completed yet. Other key accused Ribins and K T Rameez are also to be questioned.
In the meantime, the investigation agency has filed the chargeseheet against Swapna, Sarith and Sivasankar.
The Customs have declined to share with the ED, the details of the confidential statements given by Swapna and Sarith. The Customs says the courts have to provide the ED with copies of confidential statements.