Kerala gold smuggling: Prime accused Swapna Suresh gets bail from High Court
She was booked under the Unlawful (Activities) Prevention Act by the National Investigation Agency.
The Kerala High Court on Tuesday granted bail to Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the gold smuggling case, ANI reported. Suresh and seven others were booked under the Unlawful (Activities) Prevention Act by the National Investigation Agency.
The bench of Justices K Vinod Chandran and C Jayachandran gave the verdict after hearing the appeals filed by the accused people against the Ernakulam National Investigation Agency’s Special Court’s order, The Hindu reported.
The case involves the seizure of gold worth Rs 15 crore from diplomatic baggage in July last year. Customs officials had found the gold during the inspection of an air cargo consignment addressed to the Consular General of the United Arab Emirates in Thiruvananthapuram.
Two former employees of the consulate – Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair – were found to be involved in the smuggling.
During the hearing, the National Investigation Agency claimed that Suresh had requisite knowledge and intention to hurt the economic security of the country, The Hindu reported. The agency alleged she had formed a terrorist gang, raised funds and smuggled gold from the United Arab Emirates in large quantities through a diplomatic channel.
In this process, Suresh and the other accused persons had damaged India’s relation with the United Arab Emirates and committed crimes punishable under the Unlawful (Activities) Prevention Act, the National Investigation Agency said.
The counsel for Suresh and other accused people said that the National Investigation Agency’s chargesheet did not mention involvement of transnational forces and financing of terrorism charges as was alleged during the inquiry.
“While some of the accused in the matter were released on bail already, the rest were denied bail on the sole ground that a deeper probe was necessary for the facts narrated in the FIR, regarding funding terrorism and involvement of transnational forces,” the petition stated, according to the Hindustan Times.
The chargesheet said that the only offence pertained to smuggling of gold that was punishable under the Customs Act. Suresh’s counsel added the offence under the Unlawful (Activities) Prevention Act was under the suspicion that smuggling might be used as a cover for terror financing in India.