For officials of the Customs Preventive Commissionerate in Kochi, hearing about the transfer of Commissioner Sumit Kumar was sad news.
For officials of the Customs Preventive Commissionerate in Kochi, hearing about the transfer of Commissioner Sumit Kumar was sad news. A native of New Delhi and 1994 IRS batch officer, Sumit, 53, is known for taking firm decisions against smugglers and supporting his officers by keeping political pressures on them at bay.
He has been transferred to Bhiwandi GST and Central Excise unit in Mumbai. Before joining IRS, Sumit worked as a columnist. When he came to the Commissioner of Cochin Customs House in 2017, he was given additional charge of the Customs Preventive Commissionerate. During his stint in Kochi, he headed the customs team that probed several sensational cases, with the most prominent being the smuggling of gold using diplomatic baggage at Thiruvananthapuram airport last year, which landed the then CPM government in a spot.
In March, he said on Facebook, “a political party trying intimidation will not work,” referring to the LDF’s protest march to the customs office while it was probing the gold smuggling case.
“It was due to his decision that the diplomatic baggage with the gold was neither released to the recipient nor resent to Dubai despite the best efforts of UAE diplomats. He was the one who drew the Centre’s attention to the seriousness of the matter, prompting a probe by multiple agencies. He was fully supportive of the probe team even when its members were politically targeted. The investigation into the case is almost over.
Unfortunately, he might not be in office for the adjudication procedure,” said an officer who was part of the probe. Ever since he assumed charge, seizure of gold at state’s airports touched new records with over 200kg of the yellow metal recovered annually. He also acted strictly against corrupt customs officials.
In 2019, a team under him set a record of largest gold haul in Kerala, seizing 123kg of the precious metal from Thrissur. For the operation, he mobilised all the customs units in Kerala. In the Thiruvananthapuram case, the seizure was around 31kg of gold, though the accused admitted to smuggling 167kg of gold on 21 occasions.
When TNIE contacted him, Sumit refused to comment on the transfer, saying that coming and going were part of the job. Sumit’s IRS batchmate Rajendra Kumar will be replacing him as Commissioner of Customs Preventive Commissionerate in Kochi.