Gold smuggling case
Swapna Suresh, called Rashed Khasmi Ali Musaiqri Al Ashmia, the Consulate Charge d’Affairs of the United Arab Emirates Consulate 117 times in a month.
Rashed Khasmi Ali Musaiqri Al Ashmia, the Consulate Charge d’Affairs of the United Arab Emirates Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, has reportedly left India. The 30 kg smuggled gold seized by the Customs Department from Trivandrum airport, was found in a bag addressed to the Consulate Officer. News about the officer having left India was reported by various Malayalam media outlets at a time when documents that leaked call details of the accused persons -- Sarith and Swapna -- came out in the media. As per the leaked documents, Swapna, the second accused in the case, had called Rashed Khasim 117 times from June 1 to July 5. The last call Swapna made to him was on July 4, a day after the bag reached the Thiruvananthapuram airport. Meanwhile, Sarith, the first accused, has called the Consulate Officer thrice since March. All the three calls were made in July, with the last call made on July 5 -- the day the smuggled gold was seized. The other two calls were made on July 3 when the bag arrived at the airport. The two key accused in the case, Swapna Suresh and Sarith Kumar, are former employees of UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram. While Swapna continued to work as the Secretary for Rahed Khasmi on a “work on demand basis”, Sarith who was a former public relations officer of Consulate, did ‘odd jobs’ for him. Though it is not yet clear exactly on which day the Consulate Officer left the country, it is believed that he left India from Delhi. Reports had stated that Rashed Khasmi had left from Kerala to Delhi last Sunday. It is also not clear whether Rashed Khasmi left the country as directed by the UAE government, or on his own. Rashed Khasmi had been called by the Customs officials to the Air Cargo Complex in Thiruvananthapuram, and he had personally verified that the bag was addressed to him. But when the bag was opened at his presence by the Customs officials to discover 30 kg gold, he claimed that only the food items (oats, noodles, dates, milk powder) that was present in the bag belonged to him. According to reports, the NIA officials had been preparing to take statements from the Consulate Officer. The Centre had also reportedly sought UAE’s permission for the same.