The National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested a 37-year-old man in connection with the Kerala gold smuggling case following his arrival from Dubai today.
Muhammed Mansoor P H, a resident of Kozhikode district, was taken into custody following his arrival at the Calicut International Airport, said a statement from the agency.
The NIA statement describes Mr Mansoor as a “key conspirator” in the gold smuggling case and adds that he had a non-bailable warrant against him.
On July 5 last year, Customs officials at Thiruvananthapuram airport seized 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crore from a diplomatic cargo addressed to the Charge D’ Affaires of the UAE Consulate in the Kerala capital.
M Sivasankar, principal secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, was removed from the post over his alleged involvement with a prime accused in the smuggling racket, Swapna Suresh. Ms Suresh had earlier worked as executive secretary at the UAE Consulate-General’s office.
The Opposition had targeted Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan over the issue, saying that the Chief Minister cannot escape responsibility as the accused had allegedly misused the CMO for fraud. Mr Vijayan had countered that investigative agencies had not found anything against the state government.
The NIA has so far filed a charge sheet against 20 accused. The case is also being probed by the Enforcement Directorate.
“Investigation in the case has revealed that Mohammed Mansoor while being in UAE, had conspired with the charge-sheeted accused Mohammed Shafi P. and others to facilitate smuggling of gold to India, through import cargo addressed to diplomats at the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram,” the NIA statement said.
The accused was produced before a special court that granted NIA his custody for five days, it added.