Gold smuggling case: Kerala Higher Education Minister Jaleel appears before NIA team

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Kerala Higher Education Minister KT Jaleel on Thursday appeared before the NIA team, which is probing the sensational Kerala gold smuggling case.

 

KT Jaleel is facing the Enforcement Directorate probe into alleged FCRA violation in accepting consignments of Holy Quran brought from UAE through diplomatic channel.

Visuals aired by TV news channels showed the Minister arriving at the NIA office in Kochi at 6 am in a private car.

However, there was no official word either from the NIA or from the Minister's office about the development.

Earlier, Jaleel had appeared before the ED and his statement was recorded.

The Opposition parties have been staging protests across the state calling for Jaleel’s resignation since he was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate on Sunday.

According to the official report, Jaleel is under the scanner of the central agencies after he publicly claimed that the consignments brought to Thiruvananthapuram during Ramzan month contained Holy Quran for distribution in his constituency.

The minister had earlier admitted that a consignment containing Holy Quran had been received from the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram which a top Customs official had referred to as "prima facie violation of FCRA" (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act).

Jaleel is Minister for Higher Education, Welfare of Minorities, Wakf and Hajj in the LDF-led government. 

After the media reported about his interrogation by the ED, the minister had later posted on Facebook: 

"Truth will prevail. Only the truth. Even if the whole world opposes it, nothing else will happen."

He has not been named in the gold smuggling case so far, however he has has been in the dock for allegedly in violating protocols while accepting religious books and flood-relief kits from the United Arab Emirates Consulate.

These goods reportedly came through the diplomatic baggage route, which is now under probe for being used as a cover to smuggle gold. 

The matter, which pertains to the smuggling of gold in the state through diplomatic channels, had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crores, smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage, was busted by the Customs in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5. 

In addition, Jaleel was also found to be in touch in the gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh, a former Executive Secretary at the UAE Consulate-General's office.

Swapna went into hiding on July 5 after a diplomatic baggage addressed to the UAE Consulate was seized by customs officials.

Later, two key accused, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, were taken into custody by the NIA from Bengaluru on July 1.

 

With inputs from Agency

Image credit: Mathrubhumi

 

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