Rahila Cheerayi, accused of smuggling gold into the country through Karipur airport, said the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had coerced her into giving a statement against the other accused in the case. She gave the statement in an oral complaint before the Ernakulam Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Court (Economic Offences) here on Wednesday.
When Rahila was produced before the court on Monday for custody hearing, she told the court that she wanted to make a complaint. The ACJM heard her complaint and put it down in writing.
On Wednesday, Rahila told the Court that she was “mentally, morally, and physically harassed” by DRI officials. She said the statement produced by DRI officials in court as hers was prepared under duress.
“The words in the complaint are their words, not mine,” she told the court. The accused said DRI officials had threatened her that she would be detained for a year under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Act if she didn’t do as they ordered.
Rahila said she wasn’t given any food during the day on November 8 when DRI officials intercepted her at the airport and detained her for questioning. She said she was suffering from low blood pressure and blood sugar. “When I asked for my medicine at night, they gave me a sedation tablet, Nitrazepam. The statement was written when I was under sedation,” she told the court.
She said DRI officials had forced her to name her business associates Shabas, Abdul Layis, and Nabeel as the conspirators in the smuggling racket. “They also told me to write the name of a fourth person named Faisal, whom I don’t even know,” she said.
The ACJM forwarded Rahila’s complaint to a Malappuram court, which has jurisdiction over Karipur airport.
Rahila’s counsel submitted in court that only 3 kg of gold had been seized from her and that it was a bailable offence. DRI special prosecutor C.P. Udayabhanu argued that as per Rahila’s statement, she had smuggled as much as 23 kg on previous occasions.
The court handed over the accused to DRI custody for two days.