Kingpin of Kerala gold smuggling case K.T. Rameez has been arrested and sent to a jail here by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), an official said here on Friday.
The central agency is set to question him in detail.
As per the official, the arrest was made on Wednesday when Rameez was called for questioning in the case in which Swapna Suresh is the prime accused.
In the past, Ramees had been arrested by both NIA and Customs in the same case. Rameez is understood to be controlling the gold smuggling business from the Middle East. The ED called him for questioning on Wednesday and recorded his arrest.
He was produced before a court here which sent him to judicial custody.
According to the source, the move is indicative of the seriousness with which the central agency is determined to proceed. His name surfaced strongly after Swapna was arrested by the NIA from Bengaluru in July 2020. Soon he was made an accused in the case.
According to Customs officers, he was the brain behind using diplomatic channel for gold smuggling. “He knows financiers and buyers through which gold can be smuggled. He is a key agent for smugglers in Kerala and the UAE,” an officer said.
His name seems to have first surfaced when DRI detected smuggling of over 15kg of gold through cargo at Kozhikode airport in 2014. He is also involved in poaching and illegal trade in wildlife products. A wildlife case was registered against him in Palakkad in 2014, for running a gang which enters the forest and hunts deer, Sambar deer and Nilgiri Thar.
He apparently evaded arrest for all these years as he was staying abroad and due to his high-powered connections.
(With IANS inputs)