The bid to smuggle 25 kg of gold which was recently thwarted at Thiruvananthapuram airport and the subsequent probe has unravelled the links with a prominent jewellery group and the role of a lawyer in the deal engaging women.
On suspicion of the hand of a jeweller behind the racket, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials raided the residence of Muhammed Ali, owner of PPM Chains, in Kozhikode.
Separately, advocate Biju Mohanan, the ringleader in the racket who has been absconding, surrendered in the DRI office in Kochi on Friday morning.
The raid on the residence of Muhammed Ali was on the suspicion that the smugglers had purchased gold from his shop in Dubai. DRI sleuths suspect that the 25 kg gold seized at the airport was meant for Muhammed Ali. Jewellery showroom manager Abdul Hakim, who the DRI is after, is absconding.
On May 13, 25 kg gold was seized and Biju's wife and another woman were nabbed. A few days before that, gold worth over Rs 8 crore brought from Dubai was seized at Thiruvananthapuram international airport.
Biju and team were said to engage women as carriers on the offer of high remuneration. According to DRI officials, at least 20 women were involved in smuggling gold. The arrest of a Customs official is said to have given DRI leads about the racket.
Biju is said to have brought in gold at least six times. He is suspected to have threatened his wife of divorce if she did not be an accomplice in the racket.DRI officials are now looking at the role of more Customs officials in the racket.