Gold smuggler on NIA list deported to Mumbai from Saudi Arabia

Mumbai, April 4 (IANS) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) along with the National Central Bureau – Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, has successfully brought back a notorious gold smuggler wanted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), to Mumbai, said a CBI statement here on Thursday.

The accused fugitive is identified as Shokat Ali, who had a Red Corner Notice against him on September 13, 2021, and the operations were coordinated through the InterPol channels.

Shokat Ali was earlier geo-located in Saudi Arabia after which the CBI and the authorities there coordinated through InterPol for his deportation.

The RCN issued by the CBI from the InterPol in September 2021 was circulated to all member-countries to locate and arrest the wanted Shokat Ali.

The accused is named in a criminal case filed against him in September 2020 by the NIA for offences of unlawful activities and criminal conspiracy in a gold smuggling case.

The smuggling case pertained to the seizure of 18.50 kgs of smuggled gold bars at Jaipur International Airport on July 3, 2020, and investigations revealed that Shokat Ali had conspired with 17 other co-accused involved in that smuggling operation from Saudi Arabia to India.

Besides Shokat Ali, other accused figuring in the NIA chargesheet filed before a Special Court in Jaipur include Sunil Verma, Hetram, Rashid Qureshi, Surendrakumar Darji, Mohammed Arif, Abdul Razzak, Sameer Khan, Muniyad Ali Khan, and Muhabbat Ali – who was deported in August 2023 by Saudi Arabia.

As gold prices have touched Rs 70,000 per tola in the past few days, incidents of gold smuggling from the Gulf countries have gone up with various vigilance agencies stationed at Mumbai Airport and other international airports affecting big and small seizures of gold and arrests of smugglers almost every week.

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