Kerala Gold Smuggling Scam: CPM Minister and Ex-SIMI leader K T Jaleel interrogated by Enforcement Directorate; BJP demands resignation

    12-Sep-2020   
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KT Jaleel, Minister for Higher Education, Welfare of Minorities, Wakf Board and Hajj, has been interrogated by Enforcement Directorate in connection with Kerala Gold Smuggling Scam.
 
Jaleel was interrogated in the morning today, after which he returned to Malappuram. According to reports, Jaleel reached Kochi on Thursday evening for interrogation, which lasted for two hours. He reached the Aluva ED office in a private vehicle.
 
ED also took statements on protocol violation pertaining to gold smuggling. According to chief of ED, Minister Jaleel was also asked upon his connections with the accused of gold smuggling case.
 
The minister was reportedly asked about the arrival and distribution of religious texts from abroad through diplomatic baggage and his links with gold smuggling case accused, Swapna Suresh.
 
The accused minister had facilitated the transport of the Quran parcels from Thiruvananthapuram International Airport to C-Apt (Kerala State Centre for Advanced Printing & Training) presided by him. The UAE however has categorically stated that it does not export Quran through its Consulate.
 
Customs documents do show that 250 packages reached airport on March 6, 2020; UAE Consulate is the consignee as per the document. "Islamic Affairs And Charitable Act, P.O.B. No: 3135, Dubai' was the consignor. Bundles bore the label, "Holy Quran Diplomatic Cargo". Rs 895,800 is the cost of the consignment as per the document and weight is 4479 kgs. And, the bundles reached C-Apt only on June 26. And, only 32 bundles reached C-Apt, its employees told during the Customs interrogation; the same quantity of 32 bundles had been transported to Edappal from there (C-Apt).
 
K.T. Jaleel has admitted that bundles were taken to Edappal in Malappurm district in C-Apt vehicle. But, after the inquiry it was revealed that a C-Apt vehicle went to Bengaluru and returned from there only after a week.
 
The call data records of KT Jaleel and Swapna Suresh, one of the accused in the Gold Smuggling Scam, showed that the minister was in close contact with the latter. Jaleel had claimed that he spoke to Swapna only about distribution of ‘Ramzan food kits’ from the UAE consulate.
 
BJP state president K Surendran on Saturday launched a scathing attack on the state government over Minister K T Jaleel’s interrogation by Enforcement Directorate. He said that Jaleel smuggled gold under the guise of holy Quran.
 
“Jaleel has acted as an intermediary in several financial transactions conducted by the government abroad. The CM is taking a stand to protect Jaleel. He is being protected because the Chief Minister is involved in many of his transactions,” he said.
 
Surendran said that Jaleel had committed the scams with the knowledge of the Chief Minister.