NIA questions KT Jaleel in connection with Kerala gold smuggling case

The questioning comes against the backdrop of large scale protests in state demanding his resignation as his name was found in call records of Swapna Suresh, main accused in the gold smuggling case.

Kerala’s higher education minister KT Jaleel, who has been facing the heat in the gold smuggling cases, was summoned by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday.

Jaleel reached the NIA office in Kochi at 6 am in a private vehicle and was questioned for two hours.

His name was found in prime accused Swapna Suresh’s phone call list. Suresh was arrested in July this year.

Soon after the list of Suresh’s calls came out, the minister said he had called Suresh as a consular employee in connection with Ramadan kits offered by the UAE consulate in the state capital.

There have been widespread protests across Kerala against Jaleel and demands have been made for his resignation.

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has dismissed any possibility of the minister’s resignation. The ongoing agitation against the minister is a move to destroy the state’s “spirited fight against the Covid-19 pandemic”, he said.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had on Wednesday denied reports that Jaleel was given a clean chit in the case.

The smuggling case came to light on July 5 after seizure of 30 kg gold from a diplomatic consignment.

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