Kerala

Court to monitor Customs’ probe over gold smuggling case

The Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences) Court here will monitor the probe by the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate, Kochi in the diplomatic baggage gold smuggling case.

The court asked the investigating officer to file report on the progress of the investigation in every three months, till the submission of the final report.

Deepu. C, the judge of the Economic Offences Court, gave this order on Tuesday while dismissing the contempt of court proceedings demanded by the key accused Swapna Suresh against Customs officers and media for leaking a portion of her statement given under section 108 of the Customs Act.

However, the court directed Chief Commissioner of Customs (Preventive), Kochi to take strict disciplinary action against the erring officer who caused the leakage of the petitioner’s statement or/any portion without unreasonable delay. It also asked the official to file a detailed report in a sealed cover.

The court pointed out that it is not expected to tolerate such unethical practice of officer/officers that may ultimately harm the fair investigation.

“Needless to say, the possibility of a fair trial is remote in the absence of fair investigation. In this backdrop, it appears that monitoring the process of investigation to rule out the chance of the aforesaid malpractice, is inevitable in the interest of justice”, it observed.

The judge said that all his observations in the order were mainly meant to make the investigation agency more alert and active in the manner that will ultimately help the trial court to discharge its sublime function of fair adjudication. The act of leaking and publishing cannot be termed as contempt as defined under section 2(c) of the Contempt of Courts Act, it said.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 8:00:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/court-to-monitor-customs-probe-over-gold-smuggling-case/article33220730.ece

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