Kochi: The major gold smuggling operations unearthed in Kerala recently revealed that well-entrenched rackets with links to overseas operators and local criminal gangs and politicians are thriving. The ongoing investigations into the cases reported from either end of the state revealed that smugglers, carriers and gangs out to loot the precious metal have crossed paths a few times while carrying out the shady deals at airports, roads and even the seat of state administration. For instance the links of Kodi Suni, who was convicted in the 2012 murder of politician TP Chandrasekharan, is suspected in the very recent case over the abduction of a suspected gold carrier from his house in Kozhikode district.
Asharaf, who had returned from the Middle East, was kidnapped from his house at Oorallur, Koyilandy and thrashed before being let-off by a gang a day later. Subsequently, a voice clip purportedly in the voice of Kodi Suni, threatening the gang which attacked Asharaf, was recovered from Asharaf's phone.
The police are now carrying out a detailed examination of the clip to check its authenticity. Still, the police believe that the audio clip indicates that Suni is controlling several gold smuggling gangs even from jail.
In the clip, which is in the possession of ‘Manorama Online’, a man says: “I am Kodi Suni. The item brought by Asharaf was taken by our company. Don’t try to track it down. The boy who brought it knows nothing. Also don’t try to escalate the matters and inform whoever is behind you that we are involved.”
Asharaf was taken captive from his house on Wednesday by a gang based in Koduvally at gunpoint. He was beaten up severely reportedly for leaking a smuggling operation to a gang in Kannur that loots smuggled gold. A severely injured Asharaf was later dropped on the wayside. Three youths who assaulted Asharaf have been arrested by the police. Nissar, a friend of Asharaf, had told the police that a gang from Koduvally was behind the attack. However, the police have not traced the vehicle in which the gang arrived or two others who were also part of the attack.
Meanwhile, the police took a statement from Asharaf, who is now in hospital. The Customs too has sought details from the police on the incident but it is yet to register a case regarding gold smuggling.
At the same time, the police are not convinced about Asharaf’s version. Asharaf claimed he had illegally carried some gold from abroad for a Koduvally gang two months ago. However, after arriving in Kerala, the Kannur gang intercepted him and forcibly took away the gold. But, according to Asharaf, he was given an amount of Rs 10 lakh by the Kannur gang for handing over the gold to them.
Soon, the Koduvally gang, for which the gold was brought, began threatening him. Subsequently, Kodi Suni intervened and sent the voice clip to Asharaf warning the Koduvally gang.
Link to beauty parlour shootout
In another strange angle to the case, the police said that Asharaf was taken captive by the gang led by Monayi, the accused in the sensational beauty parlour shootout case in Kochi. A few days ago, another voice clip, in which Monayi issues threats to Kodi Suni, too had cropped up.