Customs chief prevents bid to return seized gold before completing probe

Palakkad: The Customs Commissioner has intervened to prevent attempts to return gold seized from three train passengers before completing the probe into the incident.

After the alleged attempts by a few customs officials to return the gold came to light, the Commissioner (Preventive) called for all files related to the case and assigned the joint commissioner at the Commissionerate of Customs (Preventive) to investigate the incident. The commissioner also directed to expedite the probe by adhering to the procedures.

The Commissioner's intervention came after Manorama reported that a former customs official in Chennai has been acting as a middleman to get the seized gold returned before Navratri holidays, in collusion with a senior serving officer.

Some officers even questioned the move to hand back the gold in violation of norms. The seized item could be returned only after completing the probe and related formalities, and also after checking relevant documents to prove the gold was not being illegally possessed. Besides, the agency that seized the gold — in this case the Railway Protection Force — too, should be informed in advance.

Officials of the Customs (Preventive) department in Palakkad and RPF personnel seized gold bars with Swiss marking and ornaments weighing 16 kilograms from Chennai-Alappuzha special train and arrested three persons on March 11.

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