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    Customs officer who busted Kerala gold smuggling case shifted

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    Customs officer who busted Kerala gold smuggling case shifted
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    Kochi: Joint Commissioner of Customs Anish P. Rajan, a key official behind the busting of gold smuggling case in Kerala that rocked the Pinarayi Vijayan government, on Thursday received transfer orders to Nagpur.

    He has been asked to join his new posting latest by August 10. The Customs sources said it was a normal transfer.

    The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been up in arms since Rajan told the media none from Vijayan's office called to suggest hushing up of the case. The two parties had also alleged that Rajan was a Left sympathiser.

    The gold smuggling case surfaced when P.S. Sarith, a former employee of the UAE Consulate here, was arrested by the Customs on July 5 while he was allegedly facilitating smuggling of 30 kg gold in a diplomatic baggage from Dubai to Thiruvananthapuram.

    The case turned murky when name of Swapna Suresh, another ex-employee of the UAE Consulate and later employed with the IT Department, surfaced in the case. Her links with senior IAS official M. Sivasankar came up later during the investigation.

    Sivasankar, first removed from his posts of Secretary to Vijayan and IT Secretary, was later suspended from the service.

    The Kerala BJP plans to launch a campaign demanding Vijayan's resignation over the case. Top BJP leaders from the state, including Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan, will stage day-long sit-ins, starting from August 1 to 18, at various places in Kerala.

    While O. Rajagopal, the lone BJP legislator in Kerala, will stage sit-in here on August 1, state BJP chief K. Surendran will hold protest in Kochi on August 18.

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