Shashi Tharoor's aide caught with 500 gm of gold at Delhi airport. BJP takes 'smuggler' swipe | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Shashi Tharoor's aide caught with 500 gm of gold at Delhi airport. BJP takes 'smuggler' swipe

May 30, 2024 10:14 AM IST

Two persons detained at Delhi airport in gold smuggling case; one claims to be personal assistant to Shashi Tharoor

Delhi Customs on Wednesday detained two people at Delhi airport for allegedly smuggling 500 grams of gold. One of those detained claimed he was the personal assistant of Congress leader Shashi Tharoor. Reacting to the report, union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said the CPM and the Congress are an "alliance of gold smugglers".

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor.(PTI Photo/Kunal Patil)
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor.(PTI Photo/Kunal Patil)

"First CM Secy involved in Gold smuggling. Now Cong MP 'aide'/PA detained for Gold smuggling. CPM and Cong - both INDI alliance partners - alliance of gold smuggler," he wrote on X.

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The person, who has reportedly claimed to be associated with the Congress MP, has been identified as Shiv Kumar Prasad.

Shashi Tharoor, the incumbent MP, is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from the Thiruvananthapuram constituency, which went to polls on April 26. BJP has fielded Rajeev Chandrasekhar from the seat.

Gold valued at Rs. 35.22 Lakhs was seized: Delhi Customs

“On the basis of suspicion, officers of Customs at IGI Airport, New Delhi have booked a case of smuggling of gold against an Indian national who arrived at IGI Airport from Bangkok by flight TG-323 on Wednesday,” Delhi Customs said in a statement. Further investigations revealed involvement of another person, it added.

Shiv Kumar Prasad was at the Delhi Airport to receive a passenger arriving from Dubai. Both were arrested when the passenger attempted to hand over approximately 500 gram of gold chain to Prasad.

“Prasad has an aerodrome entry permit card that allows him access to airport premises. He entered the airport premises and received a packet when he was held along with the passenger,” officials said.

Gold valued at Rs. 35.22 Lakhs was seized under section 110 of the Customs Act, 1962. The circumstances surrounding the acquisition of the permit, as part of the protocol team for a member of parliament, are under scrutiny, Delhi Customs said.

‘Law must take its own course’: Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor said he was “shocked to hear of an incident involving a former member of my staff who has been rendering part-time service to me in terms of airport facilitation assistance.” Tharoor clarified that the person is a 72-year-old retiree undergoing frequent dialysis, and was retained on a part-time basis out of compassion.

“I do not condone any alleged wrongdoing and fully support the authorities in their efforts to take any necessary action as may be required to investigate the matter. The law must take its own course,” Congress MP said in an X post.

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Customs authorities said that both Prasad and the passenger were detained, and 500 gram of gold were seized from their possession. The case is currently under investigation, and their credentials are being verified, added the report.

In 2020, Kerala was rocked by a gold scam following the Customs seizure of 30 kgs of gold at Thiruvananthapuram Airport from a diplomatic bag. The investigation was subsequently taken over by the NIA. M Sivasankar, the principal secretary to Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, was suspended and removed from his post amidst allegations of his links with one of the accused.

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