Kochi: Eyebrows have been raised on the transfer of Customs officials at a time when they were probing the controversial gold smuggling case in Kerala. The transfer was however later withheld.
The order included the transfer of six superintendents and two inspectors attached to the Kochi unit of the Customs, who are presently probing the case, to other units.
In the order, which is signed by Commissioner Mohammed Yousaf, a total of 42 officials from various units are being transferred. And, this includes the key personnel presently probing the gold smuggling case.
Peeved by this sudden transfer, the issue was taken up with the higher ups in Delhi, and though the order has not been cancelled, it has been withheld.
The gold smuggling case first surfaced when P.S. Sarith, a former employee of the UAE Consulate here, was arrested by the Customs on July 5 when he was facilitating smuggling of 30 kg gold in diplomatic baggage to Thiruvananthapuram from Dubai.
It turned murkier when the name of Swapna Suresh, a former employee of the UAE Consulate here and employed with the state IT Department, surfaced. The case turned full circle when their links with senior IAS official M. Sivasankar, who has been suspended and booted out from two key posts — principal secretary to Vijayan and also the State IT secretary, were unearthed.
It was the Cochin wing of the Customs which first broke the chain in the explosive gold smuggling case as it has been found to be done under the name of the UAE Consulate in the state capital.
The present unit had announced that none will be spared and all those who have the slightest of links with any of the accused would be called in for taking statements.
Things went out of hand, when the call list of the accused gang surfaced and in it were the names of several top notch people cutting across various segments.