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Three customs officials held for 'involvement' in gold smuggling


Kochi: Crackdown on customs officials having links with smuggling rackets continued on Thursday with the arrest of three officers allegedly involved in the recent bid to smuggle gold worth over Rs 4.5 crore through Kannur International Airport.

Three inspectors of the Central Excise, Rohit Kumar Sharma, Krishan Kumar and Sakendra Paswan, presently working at Kannur Airport were also suspended from the service within hours after they were held by the DRI sleuths.

The action comes a day after the arrest of Rahul Pandit, Inspector of Central Excise, who is suspected to be the kingpin coordinator for "facilitating smuggling" through airports including Kannur and Kozhikode.

Official sources said the three officers were on duty on August 19 and they allegedly facilitated attempt by four members of smuggling racket to smuggle 11.035 kg gold through Kannur International Airport.

DRI officials had thwarted the attempt by arresting four people who came from various Gulf countries.

The arrested officers were acting under the guidance of Pandit who is the "ringleader," sources told PTI.

They said the arrest of the trio was made based on intelligence inputs and the information provided by Pandit during interrogation.

Evidence shows Pandit's links to smuggling syndicates and attempt to rope in his colleagues at Kannur and other places for facilitating smuggling, a top official had said Wednesday.

Pandit was posted at the Customs Preventive division in Kozhikode.

He had been under observation of the sleuths since then.

Officials said strong action including suspension and dismissal would be initiated if any of his officials are found involved in anti-national activities.

Customs Commissioner (Preventive), Sumit Kumar said Disciplinary/Vigilance action under the conduct rules will follow against the officers arrested in connection with the case.

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News Summary - Three customs officials held for 'involvement' in gold smuggling
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