Malabar group director has direct links with gold smuggler, says DRI

published on November 27, 2013

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on Tuesday submitted before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences) that Malabar Group director T V Muhammad Ashraf has direct links with Shabas, the first accused in the Karipur gold-smuggling case.

It filed a report before the court arraigning Ashraf as the sixth accused in the case. The DRI submitted the plea before the court while it was considering the petition for Shabas’ custody.

DRI Special Prosecutor C P Udayabhanu submitted before the court that during the interrogation of Shabas, when he was intercepted in Bangalore, he named three persons who had purchased the gold and were involved in the case.

One of them was Ashraf.

Following this, Ashraf’s statement was taken under Section 108 of the CrPC.

“While investigating more about the connection of Shabas with Ashraf, we located three mobile phone connections of Shabas in Dubai on which Ashraf had made several calls. Even Shabas had made calls to the director after handing over the gold to Hiromasa and Rahila in Dubai. In his statement, Ashraf confessed that over 10 kg out of the 39 kg of gold brought by Hiromasa and Rahila was purchased by his firm. He also said they had been purchasing gold from such people,” C P Udayabhanu told before the court.

The DRI submitted that Shabas had revealed names of other two persons.

One of them is a politician from Koduvally belonging to the ruling party and the other is a well-known businessman. The involvement of these persons is under investigation and after getting strong evidence, they would be interrogated. The DRI filed Ashraf’s statement before the court in a sealed cover. Counsel of the accused Ashik Muhammad said since Shabas had complained on the torture faced by him when taken into custody, he should not be handed over to the DRI.

He said no case exists against Shabas as the DRI had not seized any gold from him. After hearing from prosecution and the defence counsel, the court handed over Shabas to the custody of DRI till Saturday for five days. The court told the DRI to conduct medical examination every 48 hours and file its certificate at the court.

It also permitted Shabas’ counsel to meet him on alternate days till he remains in DRI custody. The court also told Rahila to submit another statement before the court soon.

Meanwhile, the Ernakulam District and Principal Sessions Court considered the bail petitions of Hiromasa and Rahila. Defence counsel submitted that there is no connection with Hiromasa and Rahila and both were carrying different consignments of gold. The court would give order on the petitions on Wednesday.

Even after repeated attempts, officials with Malabar Group were not available for comments.

Another Gold Haul at Karipur Airport

Karipur: The Customs Intelligence on Tuesday seized 2.25 kg of gold from a passenger who arrived at the Karipur International Airport from Sharjah by an Air India flight. The Customs officers nabbed Thrissur Vadanappally native Famis, 28, who had in his possession 2.25 kg of gold hidden in the battery holder of an emergency lamp he carried. The gold was cut into four pieces comfortably concealed in the lamp.

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