Mastermind behind smuggling racket still at large

Days after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a complaint against three customs officials and unknown others, it is now learnt that the mastermind behind the scam was still at large. Moreover, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials suspect that the smuggling gang was active in Bengaluru from June 2018 and has estimated "hundreds of kilograms of gold" were smuggled by the said gang.

DRI statement, pertaining to the case, revealed one Shihabuddeen, a resident of Kerala and owner of multiple business establishments in India and Dubai was the mastermind. He was presently outside the country and was evading arrest. "In all the DRI has arrested 16 persons and of them, the three were habituated to smuggling activities and were detained under COFEPOSA Act, 1974," according to DRI statement, a copy of which is with DH.

The smuggling gang was active for around five months and banked on the nexus of smugglers and three customs officials - against whom CBI has filed an FIR on May 4 - to successfully carry out their operation. 

The major breakthrough in connection with the smuggling racket came on October 13, 2018, when N T Jamsheer, another prime accused in the case, was intercepted by DRI according to the statement. Apart from sharing details of the passengers flying in with the gold to customs officials, he was also remunerating the officials.

This interception provided key in the case, as DRI was able to seize 22 kgs of gold paste - equivalent to 11 kgs of gold - from six passengers. One female passenger was found to be carrying an astounding 6.6 kgs of gold paste. "The passengers were engaged for a paltry sum to carry the gold from various countries of India," DRI officials said.


2.25 kg gold seized from a passenger

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence officials on Thursday intercepted a passenger and seized 2.25 kgs of gold. The gold is valued at Rs 75 lakhs and a 55-year old passenger Arif Hussain, a resident of Bengaluru has been arrested by officials, according to DRI statement.

The passenger was flying in from Bangkok to the city and is said to have concealed the gold in his person. He was arrested around midnight on Wednesday, according to DRI.

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