Kerala gold smuggling case: Court dismisses bail plea of Swapna Suresh

South India

Swapna Suresh had applied for bail in a money laundering case registered against her by the Enforcement Directorate saying that the investigating agency could not produce any evidence against her in connection with hawala, benami transactions and money laundering

The Ernakulam Principal Sessions Court on Friday, August 21, rejected the bail plea of Swapna Suresh, one of the main accused in the sensational Kerala gold smuggling case.

She had filed a bail plea in a case filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the money laundering, an offshoot of the smuggling of gold through diplomatic channels carried out by an international racket involving her.  

The court dismissed her bail plea on the ground that in a statement she gave to the ED under Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) had admitted that she had roles in hatching the conspiracy and smuggling the gold from the foreign country.

Noting that the revelations made by her indicates that she had ‘considerable influence’ in the corridors of power, including the office of Kerala Chief Minister, the ED said if she is released on bail, there is a chance of she tampering with evidence and also influencing the witnesses.

The investigating agency said it apprehends hurdles in the progress of investigation, if the petitioner is enlarged on bail now. The investigation is progressing and persons connected with the crime and having influence have also to be questioned, the ED said.

While considering the case, the court observed that there was a large racket behind the smuggling of gold through diplomatic channels. The court noted that the case had been found to have conspired in the country and abroad, and that it was Swapna’s responsibility to prove her innocence.

At the same time, Swapna argued that the enforcement was unable to produce evidence against her in connection with hawala, benami transactions and money laundering. But ED told the court that granting bail would help Swapna to destroy evidence and sabotage the investigation with the help of high-ranking officials.

Earlier, an NIA court and an Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Economic Offences, had also dismissed her bail pleas in separate cases registered by NIA and Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate.

Multiple agencies including NIA, Customs and Enforcement Directorate are probing the case of smuggling of gold worth over Rs 100 crore through diplomatic baggage addressed to the UAE consulate at Thiruvananthapuram since November last year.

The matter had come to light after 30 kg of gold worth Rs.14.82 crores, smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage, was seized by the Customs officials in Thiruvananthapuram international airport on July 5.

All Comments