Dubai: Ensuing the controversy over the seizure of gold from a diplomatic employee’s suitcase at Thiruvananthapuram Airport in Kerala, UAE embassy in New Delhi declared an immediate investigation on the issue. The bag containing over 30kg of gold belonged to a former employee in the UAE Consulate in Kerala, who obviously had a diplomatic immunity. But the officials in the consulate had said that the entire issue was a plot without the knowledge of the consulate. Get more details on the issue here.
But then, it was on Tuesday that the UAE consulate in New Delhi declared a complete enquiry on the issue. A statement from the embassy confirmed that an investigation was under way and stressed that the culprits “who not only committed a major crime but also sought to tarnish the reputation of the UAE mission in India, will not be spared”. “We remain committed to cooperating with Indian authorities in getting to the root of the crime,” added the statement from the embassy.
Meanwhile, a former Public Relations Officer at the UAE Consulate in Kerala was taken into custody by the Kerala police on Tuesday. Reports also said that the accused named Sarith has confessed the crime to the police. His statement included that he had received parcels addressed to the consulate a couple of times in the past as well, even after he had lost his job at the UAE mission.
He confessed that he was offered a commission of Rs1.5 million (around AED 74,000) and also named another former female employee at the mission as his accomplice, reports said. The woman, identified as Swapna Suresh, had apparently worked for a division of the Kerala state government’s IT department from where she had been terminated. The gold was concealed among cleaning equipment in cylindrical form inside pipes, faucets and an air-compressor and is said to be the largest haul from a Kerala airport. The accused PRO Sarith was sent to Kochi in Kerala for further investigation and a hunt is on to arrest Swapna Suresh, who is said to be the mastermind behind the smuggling attempt, and others involved in the crime.
Dr. Ahmad Abdul Rahman Al Banna, the UAE Ambassador to India stated that Sarith was terminated from his job in the consulate, months ago. “We fired him because he was not doing his job,” Dr Al Banna said on Monday afternoon. “Unfortunately, he used different means and ways to misuse the name of the consulate,” he said. However, Al Banna said he did not know about the reported involvement of a woman in the case.
“We trust the Indian authorities and have full faith in their investigation process. We know they are capable and will do the best in investigating the case and they will release the name of our consulate from any misconduct”, a statement from the enquiry mission remarked. “Initial inquiries conducted by the mission revealed that a former locally-hired employee of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram was responsible for this act,” the mission added.