Gold smuggling case: Customs probe team shuffled; 10 officers get transfer orders

Kochi: At a time when the diplomatic baggage gold smuggling case is at its crucial stage, attempts are being made to change the Customs department investigation team. 10 of the key investigative officers have been given transfer orders triggering another controversy.

The order issued by Kochi Customs Commissioner Muhamamd Yousuf has transferred the probe officers to various units. It is learned that the order has been issued without the knowledge of lead investigating officer Sumith Kumar. He has expressed strong objection over the transfer order to the higher officials.

The order said it was approved by the Chief Commissioner. Questioning this, Sumith Kumar expressed objection to his higher officials. Following the reaction, the transfer order has been freezed but not withdrawn.

Mathrubhumi has obtained copy of the transfer order that was issued on Wednesday. It is learned that the move, which could derail the gold smuggling case investigation, has vested interests and is the result of political intervention.

The investigation led by Sumith Kumar, who is known for honesty, had reached deeper into the smuggling gang and it troubled many. Key investigating of officers in Malabar region have been given the transfer orders.

An attempt to issue a similar order at the Kozhikode office the other day had resulted in a controversy. However, Wednesday’s transfer order was issued ignoring interventions from higher officials.

Sumith Kumar’s team members were transferred to other units and departments. Officers with proven track record in other departments are selected to Customs Preventive. This transfer order could deflate their confidence.

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