Gold Smuggling case: HC grants bail to all accused including Swapna Suresh
Kochi: The NIA has faced a setback in Thiruvananthapuram gold smuggling case after the Kerala High Court granted bail to all accused in the case here on Tuesday. All the accused including Swapna Suresh will be released from jail as per the court order.
Besides Swapna, a bench of Justices K Vinod Chandran and C Jayachandran granted the relief to other accused -- Mohammed Shafi P, Jalal A M, Rabins Hameed, Ramees K T, Sharafudeen K T, Sarith P S and Mohammed Ali -- in the case.
Advocate Sooraj T Elenjickal, who represented Swapna Suresh, said with the grant of bail in the NIA case, she can come out of judicial custody as her preventive detention under the COFEPOSA (Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act) had been recently set aside by the high court.
This may not be true for the other accused in the gold smuggling case, the lawyer said.
The detailed order is yet to be made available.
The bail was granted on a bond of Rs 25 lakh and two solvent sureties.
Swapna and Sarith who already completed the term of preventive custody will be released from the jail after settling the bond of Rs 25 lakh.
Meanwhile, the other accused KT Ramees and Jalal are currently placed in preventive custody. They will walk out of the jail by the end of this month.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA), the ED and the Customs conducted separate investigations into the racket that was busted with the seizure of gold worth Rs 15 crore from the diplomatic baggage of the UAE Consulate at Thiruvananthapuram airport on July 5, 2020.
Several people including Sivasankar, the former Principal Secretary to the Kerala Chief Minister, former employees of the UAE consulate, Suresh and Sarith P S, were arrested in connection with the case.
NIA had earlier, while opposing their bail pleas, told the high court that Suresh and others committed a terrorist act by smuggling 167 kg of gold into India from UAE between November 2019 to June 2020 as they knew that doing so would threaten the security and economic stability of the country.
NIA had also told the high court that she and others, involved in the smuggling of gold through diplomatic channels, were also aware that their actions would damage India's relations with UAE and therefore, the offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for terrorist act, conspiracy and being part of a terror organisation are made out.
(with added inputs from PTI)