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30 kg gold sent in diplomatic baggage seized in Kerala; Misuse of immunity by syndicate suspected: Customs

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Customs personnel on Sunday seized over 30 kg of gold that landed in “diplomatic baggage” by air cargo at the international airport here, in a suspected case of a smuggling syndicate misusing the name of a person who enjoys diplomatic immunity, a top official said.

Some ‘scamsters’ suspected to be members of a “certain syndicate” had been nabbed and investigations were on while the person in whose name the consignment was sent was cooperating in the probe, Customs Commissioner Sumit Kumar said.

“A consignment of over 30 kg of gold was seized. We suspect the scamsters have used the name of the consignee with diplomatic immunity. It is understood the syndicate operating behind this has filed the papers for the consignment in the name of a person with diplomatic immunity,” he told PTI.

Airport sources said the gold was concealed in a baggage consisting of bathroom equipment.

“It came two days ago but since no one came to claim it, the bag was inspected and the concealed gold found,” they said.

The Customs Commissioner said that as the consignment was addressed to the person with diplomatic immunity,”we had certain questions and as per normal protocol, we requested them to help us and they were kind enough to help us.

“We are also investigating some scamsters who have seemed to have misused the name of this person. We have nabbed some of them and an investigation is on,” he said.

The Customs officials were also investigating whether such a method had been used for smuggling in the past.

Last year, more than 550 kg of smuggled gold had been seized in Kerala and it was a national record, Kumar said adding Customs was confident of bettering it this year even with the lockdown and regular international flight operations suspended.

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