Bail denied to Swapna suresh in Kerala Customs gold smuggling case

South India

Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences) Court at Kochi dismissed the bail petition of Swapna Suresh, the third accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case, and her accomplice Ssyed Alavi on Thursday, August 13, with the observation that she is an "extremely influential lady".

She had moved the court claiming she was innocent and that the current case is the offshoot of the political rivalry between the State and the Central government. The customs opposed the petition saying that she was in a position to tamper with the evidence using her high connections in the government in outside.

The Customs Department submitted that all the accused had one day gathered at a flat near the Kerala Secretariat to conspire the smuggling along with a high-ranking government official. “If such influential people are released on bail then what will be the status of the case?” it said.

Accepting the customs argument, the court said that her instant release would certainly hamper the successful progress of investigation by the Customs Preventive Commissionerate. “There is ‘great force’ in the submission of the Customs that the petitioners are likely to tamper with evidence and help the absconding accused in the event of granting bail.

The Court pointed out that that Suresh, who is the third accused in the case, had even after her resignation from the UAE Consulate, continued to help the top officials of the consulate in the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram.

"That apart, she managed to obtain employment in the project proposed by the state government. Her extreme influence in the corridors of power is evident from the available records. Such woman is not entitled to benefit of the proviso to Section 437 Cr PC," the Court observed.

Earlier on Monday, an NIA special court had rejected the bail plea of Suresh in the terror angle of the gold smuggling case being investigated by the central agency, saying there are sufficient grounds for believing that the accusation made against her is prima facie true.

The matter, which pertains to the smuggling of gold in the state through diplomatic channels, had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crores, smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage, was busted by customs in Thiruvananthapuram last month.

Multiple agencies including NIA, Customs and Enforcement Directorate are probing the case of smuggling of gold worth over Rs 100 crore through the diplomatic channel in Thiruvananthapuram since November last year.

Image Credit: Onmanorama



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