Customs arrest CPI(M) leader Arjun Ayanki in Kerala gold smuggling case

Customs arrest CPI(M) leader Arjun Ayanki in Kerala gold smuggling case

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Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader and party’s social media cell member Arjun Ayanki was arrested by the Customs Department in Kerala’s Kochi on Monday for his involvement in a gold smuggling case. The Communist leader Arjun Ayanki is the prime suspect in the recent gold smuggling attempt at the Kozhikode International airport in Karipur.

According to the reports, the Customs Department arrested CPI (M) social media campaigner Arjun Ayanki, who is also the former Kannur unit secretary of the party’s youth wing DYFI, for alleged connection with the smuggling of 2.23 kg gold from Dubai to Kozhikode.

On June 21, Customs officials had seized 2.33 kilograms of gold from a Malappuram native named Mohammed Shafeeque Melethil from the Karipur airport in Kozhikode. On the same day, five people had died in a road accident in Ramanattukara of the Kozhikode district. Later, it was revealed that the accident had occurred when these five youths had chased another rival smuggling gang, thinking that they had possessed the gold allegedly attempted to smuggle by Mohammed Shafeeque.

The deceased youth was not aware that the accused Mohammed Shafeeque was already arrested. In a statement, the Customs Department had said that CPI(M) leader Arjun Ayanki had links with the accused Mohammed Shafeeque. The latter had stated that Arjun had been waiting for him outside the Karipur airport.

According to the police, Arjun maintained close links with the smuggling racket and allegedly went to Kozhikode airport to receive the smuggled gold from Mohammed Shafeeque.

Many CPI(M) leaders suspected to be involved in gold smuggling

The arrest of a CPI(M) leader has resulted in a major embarrassment for the party, especially Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, as the initial investigation has revealed names of a few other CPI(M) and DYFI leaders in Kannur. The car used by Arjun was allegedly owned by DYFI leader C Sajesh, who is incidentally a gold assayer with a CPI(M)-controlled cooperative bank. The role of another Communist leader, Sreejesh Das, is under investigation.

Meanwhile, a local court in Ernakulam has granted seven days custody of Arjun Ayanki to the Customs department. In its submission, the Customs said that the initial investigation has revealed that Ayanki was living a luxurious life without known sources of income. He lured many youngsters into gold smuggling and used them as carriers for snatching smuggled gold and giving protection for smuggled gold.

Earlier on Sunday, the Kannur police had traced the car used by Arjun near Pariyaram Medical College Hospital in the city. The police suspect that the car was used for the smuggling of gold. 

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