Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging his intervention in the probe into the alleged role of the Kerala Chief Minister’s Office in the smuggling of gold through the diplomatic baggage of UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.
In his letter, Chennithala has expressed concern at “the misuse of diplomatic immunity of the UAE Consulate, Thiruvananthapuram, by gold smuggling cartels with the collusion with officials working under the Kerala government.”
He alleged that these officials have “deep-rooted connections with decision-makers at the office of the Chief Minister of Kerala.” The Congress leader asked for the prime minister’s intervention to investigate the scandal as “it has implications on India’s national security and the potential to irreparably damage the age-old friendly ties between India and the UAE.”
“The UAE government has condemned the misuse of diplomatic channels of their consulate in an official communique and has unequivocally affirmed that its mission and diplomatic staff have no role in it. The issue of misusing diplomatic channels is a violation of the clauses of Geneva Convention of the UN which grants immunity to diplomatic baggage,” the letter read.
“Media reports of the influence of the smuggling cartel at the office of Chief Minister of Kerala and the nexus between politicians, government officials and the smugglers points to a grave situation warranting an investigation by an agency which has authority and freedom to act impartially.”
“In this context, I request an investigation into the matter by agencies like CBI and Enforcement Directorate. I further beseech that steps may kindly be taken without delay in the matter and justice be ensured,” the letter sent by the Congress leader read.
On Sunday, the Thiruvananthapuram customs department seized 30 kilos of gold smuggled in diplomatic baggage. It was discovered that two former employees of the consulate Sarith Nair and Swapna Suresh are the main accused in the racket. The customs sources said Swapna is on the run while Sarith Kumar, a former consulate PRO, was taken into custody and after the interrogation his arrest was recorded.
Swapna was employed in Space Park and Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited (KSITL), which comes under the IT department.