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'Haven't unearthed link between gold smuggling, jihadi funding'

Havent unearthed link between gold smuggling, jihadi funding

Kochi: Days after busting a huge racket allegedly involved in smuggling of gold through the international airport here, Customs Tuesday rejected reports that it has unearthed a link between the group and funding of jihadi operations.

"It is hereby clarified that the investigation conducted by Customs has not unearthed any connection between the smuggling racket and funding of jihadi operations, nor has any information to the effect that carriers were lured in the name of funding jihadi operations been received by the department," Customs Commissioner K N Raghavan said in a release.

"The focus of investigation is only on smuggling and related economic offences and that we share the details of investigations in major cases with other related agencies," he said.

Customs officials had on Sunday arrested a Kerala police constable, who worked on deputation as immigration official at Kochi International Airport here, for allegedly facilitating the illegal trade.

The officials had said that 28-year-old Jabin K Basheer, while working as Immigration Assistant under Intelligence Bureau (IB) from 2011 to April 2015, allegedly helped Naushad -- kingpin of the racket which is suspected to have smuggled 1,500 kg of gold from Dubai through the airport in 16 months.

His brother, Nibin K Basheer (25) and father A K Basheer (52) were also arrested by the Special Intelligence and Investigation Branch of Customs for allegedly helping Jabin in the smuggling. They belong to Muvattupuzha.

A total of 32 persons, including some ground handling staff at the airport have been arrested ever since Customs nabbed Noushad, the second accused in the case.

Noushad, who is also a native of Moovattupuzha, was arrested on June 8 and is presently lodged in the jail here.

Customs officials have indicated more arrests would be made in the case in the coming days.

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