An alleged “habitual” gold smuggler who was arrested early this month at IGI Airport, with 10 kg gold bars worth over Rs 3 crore, has been granted bail by a Delhi court. The court said the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had failed to prove that the accused had travelled abroad.

Additional Sessions Judge Lokesh Kumar Sharma granted bail to Dharmender Kumar though the DRI opposed his release saying he is habitually involved in smuggling.

The court directed the accused not to leave the city without prior permission.

“The Department has failed to produce any document regarding travelling abroad of the accused.... It is a settled position of law that the statement made by the accused during investigation before the investigating agency cannot be considered at the time of consideration of bail application,” the court said.

Dharmender's counsel Vijay Aggarwal had contended that he was innocent and an employee of a diamond company which is the lawful owner of the gold in question and since his interrogation was complete, his further custody was not required.

Dharmender was intercepted by the DRI officials at the IGI Airport’s arrival hall when he arrived from Kolkata on March 6 by an Indigo Airlines flight.

The department said they had specific information on smuggling of gold. On search of his suitcase, 10 gold bars of one kg each were found wrapped in a newspaper and stuffed in socks. The DRI officials found two pillows inside the suitcase to conceal the gold bars.

More In: NEW DELHI | NATIONAL