Karipur gold smuggling: Customs arrest Arjun Ayanki after nine-hour interrogation

Arjun Ayanki
Arjun Ayanki at Customs Office in Kochi

Arjun Ayanki, the key suspect in the Karipur gold smuggling case, was arrested by the Customs on Monday. The Customs recorded the youth's arrest after questioning him for nine hours at their office in Kochi. He reached the office by 10.30 am following the instruction of the Customs department.


Ayanki was summoned by the Customs based on the revelations by Shafeeq, a gold carrier who was arrested from the Karipur airport. Shafeeq was arrested with 2.33 kg of smuggled gold. A special court considering economic offences in Kochi has left Shafeeq in Customs' custody. In their report seeking the custody of Shafeeq, Customs says that it was Ayanki who had given the instructions to Shafeeq. It is believed that a Dubai-based gang is behind the smuggling.


Meanwhile, the police are on the lookout for Sreelal, a Kannur native who is the second accused. Sreelal's voice was identified by the locals from the audio clips seized from quotations gangs. The conversation involved Arjun and Sreelal.


The customs officials suspect that more individuals from Panoor and Mahe are involved in the smuggling racket. Many of them are suspected to have CPM links.


The probe into the recent car-lorry crash in Ramanattukara has exposed the bitter rivalry among various underworld gangs in north Kerala and their political links.


Rival gangs had made elaborate arrangements to trap Arjun Ayanki, a suspected gold smuggler, it was revealed.


In a reported high-speed road chase to tray Ayanki, the car in which one of the gangs was travelling, collided with a cement-laden lorry near Pulinchode near Ramanattukara in Kozhikode around 5 am, killing five.


The accident made the police suspect the involvement of gold smugglers, which led to further investigation.


Ayanki was a CPM supporter and was the party "Red Volunteer" captain in Kannur. He had a huge following in social media for attacking political opponents in the cyber world. However, the party leadership, both at Kannur and the state level, washed their hands of him after the gold smuggling incidents came to light.


The car believed to be used by Ayanki was found hidden behind bushes on a hillock opposite the Pariyaram Medical College hospital in Kannur district, police said on Sunday.


Police had been on the lookout for the car which was suspected to be used in the gold smuggling at Karippur airport in Kozhikode district. The Kannur police on Sunday evening identified the car using its engine number as the number plates had been removed.


The red Maruti Swift car belongs to C Sajesh from Chembilode who was a CPM member and DYFI Chembilode division Secretary. After the news of his car being involved in the smuggling, Sajesh was promptly expelled from the party.


Sources close to Sajesh said that the car was always used by Ayanki ever since he had brought the car.

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