Kerala remains in the news and unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons. Kerala and gold smuggling, both share a deep relation with each other. This gold is being used to finance terror operations across the country. Yet, the Kerala Government has failed to recognize the issue and is allegedly involved instead.
The airports of Kerala in general and Kozhikode airport in specific emerged as the main gateways for gold smugglers as 232kg of gold was seized in the state till November last year. As per the data, Kozhikode airport remains second in the country in terms of the quantity of gold seized this year 128.170kg only after Chennai airport where 130.109kg was seized.
Kerala airports- the hub of gold smuggling
Though Thiruvananthapuram airport witnessed a steep decline in gold seizure incidents with just 12.820kg being seized till November last year, Kerala is the hub for gold smuggling as 232kg of the yellow metal has been seized from the state.
“The smuggling incidents at Kozhikode international airport are the chief concern for the customs. Even during the lockdown period, the flow of smuggled gold through the airport was high as compared to other airports in the state,” said a senior customs officer.
Apart from Kerala, a large amount of gold was also seized at airports in neighbouring states including Chennai airport, Trichy International Airport, Coimbatore and Madurai airports with each witnessing 130.109kg, 78.451kg, 19.131kg and 6.390kg, respectively.
“We also suspect that the seizure of gold at airports in neighbouring states are linked with the smuggling rackets in ‘the God’s own country’. We had a few cases in Kerala in which gold that landed at airports in Tamil Nadu was brought via rail and road routes,” an office reported.
Kerala Gold scam
The gold smuggling case of Kerala came to light in July 2020. TFI reported that the scam was being used to finance terror operations in the country. As various reports surfaced regarding the growing number of radicalised youth joining terrorist organisations, funding through illegal financial channels seems evident.
30 kilograms of gold worth Rs 15 crores seized by the Customs department was found in diplomatic cargo addressed to the UAE -consulate- General Office in Thiruvananthapuram.
According to the NIA’s remand note, Swapna Suresha and Sandeep Nair had conspired together to create monetary instability and destabilize the Indian economy by smuggling large quantities of gold from the UAE.
Later, Swapna Suresh, revealed that the illegal activities were happening right under the nose of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and three other cabinet ministers from his government.
Given the possible harmful outcomes of gold smuggling, the central government needs to jump in and take cognizance of the matter. Else, Kerala will soon become a gateway for terrorism too.