Shashi Tharoor’s former aide arrested in gold smuggling case at Delhi Airport, Congress MP says ‘law must take…’

Delhi Customs detained two persons in a gold smuggling case at Delhi Airport. One of them claimed to be a former aide of Congress leader Shashi Tharoor. Around 500 grams of gold recovered from their possession.

Written By Alka Jain
Updated30 May 2024
Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor. (HT File)
Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor. (HT File)

Delhi Customs on Wednesday arrested two persons, including the former aide of Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, in a gold smuggling case at Indira Gandhi International Airport.

Sources said that Shiv Kumar Prasad, the former aide to Tharoor, had come to the Delhi Airport to receive a person from Dubai. Both were arrested when the passenger tried handing over around 500 grams of gold to Prasad. The case is currently under investigation.

“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,” sources told ANI.

The Congress and Communist Party of India (Marxist) faced criticism from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the detention of the alleged aide of Shashi Tharoor in the gold smuggling case.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar wrote, "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 smugglers."

A day after his former aide was arrested in the gold smuggling case, Shashi Tharoor responded, distanced himself from any alleged wrongdoing, and said that the law must take its own course.

“While I am in Dharamshala for campaigning purposes, I 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,” the Congress MP wrote on the microblogging site.

“He is a 72 year old retiree undergoing frequent dialysis and was retained on a part-time basis on compassionate grounds. I do not condone any alleged wrongdoing and fully support the authorities in their efforts to take any necessary action that may be required to investigate the matter. The law must take its own course,” he added.

In 2020, Kerala faced a major scandal involving gold smuggling after Customs officials seized 30 kilograms of gold from a diplomatic bag at Thiruvananthapuram Airport.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) took over the probe, leading to the suspension and removal of M Sivasankar, the principal secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, following allegations of his connection to one of the accused.

BJP leader Chandrasekhar is the NDA candidate from the Thiruvananthapuram constituency and faces a stiff challenge from the former diplomat and senior Congress leader Tharoor, seeking a third term. The CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) has fielded CPI leader Pannyan Raveendran from the constituency, who won the seat in 2005.

In the second phase of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, voting was completed on April 26 in all 20 constituencies in Kerala and 88 constituencies across 13 states and union territories.

(With ANI inputs)

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