The Customs department is now probing if there was any protocol violation by Kerala Higher Education Minister K.T. Jaleel in the sensational gold smuggling case.
Jaleel allegedly received kits for distribution from the UAE consulate during Ramzan and also a copy of the Holy Quran, both of which are a violation of protocol.
The Customs have sent a notice to the State Protocol Officer asking if there were any exemptions granted for this and also to provide the list of baggage under this segment.
The issue surfaced after the minister said that he was in contact with Swapna Suresh, one of the prime accused in the gold smuggling case, with regard to accepting sponsorship worth Rs 5 lakh from the UAE consulate here for distribution of Ramzan kits in Malappuram district from where Jaleel hails.
According to the code of conduct for state ministers, they cannot accept gifts which are valued at over Rs 5,000. Besides, the rules are very clear that all such items should be routed only through the Ministry of External Affairs and not given directly to either state ministers or Union ministers.
The Holy Quran was also received by a department under Jaleel.
Already, Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan has expressed concern about the protocol violation, an issue which the BJP’s Kerala unit has also raised.