Kerala govt approaches SC against ED’s plea to transfer gold smuggling case to Bengaluru

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Supreme Court | Photo: AP

New Delhi: Kerala government has approached the Supreme Court against the Enforcement Directorate’s plea seeking transfer of trial in the case of gold smuggling through diplomatic baggage, to Bengaluru. The move comes at a time when the bench led by Chief Justice of India UU Lalit has decided to take up ED’s plea for transfer.

Representing the state government, additional chief secretary Dr Venu V, who is also the home secretary, has put forth many contentions against ED’s move. Some of the major arguments are:

  • If the trial procedures in the case are transferred to Bengaluru, then it will have a counterproductive effect on the administrative process and the trust of the judiciary
  • ED's concerns of influence and sabotage are fictional and based on assumptions and rumours
  • ED has been raising allegations against high-profile people holding political positions even when they are not listed as defendants
  • Even if the allegations are to go to trial, there is no need to be trialled outside Kerala
  • The state government, in any stage, has not hindered ED’s pursuit in the case
Meanwhile, this is not the first time that an arm, which comes under the power of the BJP-led union government, is seeking transfer of legal affairs into Karnataka. Earlier, the Lakshadweep administration under the union government had mooted a proposal to move the jurisdiction of Kerala High Court to Karnataka High Court. The move came when the regime was under pressure over protests and social media flak against alleged anti-people reforms on the island.

ED’s argument in the gold smuggling case is that state government, police and prison officials are trying to topple the money laundering investigations in the case. However, the plea for the transfer of the case has named PS Sarith, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair as defendants. The government has requested the court to be listed as a defendant.

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