Police to probe ‘bid to ambush’ Customs chief

The police and the Customs Department have launched separate inquiries into an alleged attempt to waylay Customs Commissioner (Preventive) Sumit Kumar in Wayanad on Thursday. Mr. Kumar heads multiple investigations into the UAE consulate-linked gold smuggling scandal.

The probe had extended to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s office with the arrest of his former Principal Secretary M. Sivasankar on gold smuggling charges. The Customs had also questioned Higher Education Minister K.T. Jaleel as part of its probe into the import of dates by the UAE consulate.

Mr. Kumar told The Hindu that the incident occurred after he inaugurated a Customs preventive unit at Kalpetta in Wayanad. He was travelling in his official vehicle to Kozhikode. An anonymous vehicle had tailed his car for 24 km along the winding hilly road. It attempted to force Mr. Kumar’s car off the steep road. The vehicle had started shadowing his car from 1.30 p.m. onwards. It vanished after the Commissioner entered Kozhikode.

On reaching Koduvally, the Customs lodged a complaint with the police, following which a case was registered. The department has taken a case on the charge of endangering a Customs official. A preliminary investigation concluded that the registration plate of the vehicle was fake.

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