A crushed car after it collided with a truck, in Kozhikode, Monday, June 21, 2021. 5 people died in the accident. (PTI)
Five young men were killed when the SUV, in which they were traveling, got involved in a high-speed collision with a truck near Ramanattukara in Kozhikode district of Kerala, early on Monday. Though it was deemed a regular accident due to over-speeding at first, police now believe the deceased were all part of an intricate gold smuggling ring.
The deceased, all natives of Cherpulassery in Palakkad district, have been identified as Muhammad Saheer, Thahir, Nasser, Subair and Hassainar.
Though the police haven’t formally corroborated the suspicions of gold smuggling, a top officer involved in the probe said that the five men killed in the accident have connections to a gold smuggling racket operating out of Calicut International Airport. The men, travelling in a Bolero SUV, were part of a convoy of three cars carrying 15 persons from Cherpulassery, all of whom have purported connections to gold smuggling.
It was the Bolero SUV that spun out of control near a curve due to over-speeding and eventually hit a truck leading to all passengers getting killed on the spot. It wasn’t a direct collision as the SUV is believed to have spun at least three times before hitting the truck, the officer said.
Police officers got suspicious about the accident when they realised that the car’s inhabitants had no reason to be at Ramanattukara around the time if they were returning to Cherpulassery from the airport located at Karipur. Subsequently, the officers traced two other cars with the help of CCTV footage that had used the same route. Six persons, apprehended from the cars, are being questioned at the police station in Feroke.
There are suspicions that the gang from Cherpulassery were chasing another smuggling gang from Koduvally when the accident took place.
Earlier in the day, nearly 2.3 kilograms of gold worth about Rs 1.1 crore was seized by Customs officers at the Calicut airport from a 23-year-old passenger who had arrived from Dubai. The gold was found to be concealed inside a coffee-maker. Police now suspect that the gang involved in the car accident was planning to collect the gold that was being smuggled in.