Kerala

NIA tells Kerala High Court that charges against Swapna Suresh and other accused in gold smuggling case is grave

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Monday reserved its judgment on the appeals moved by Swapna Suresh, Sarith and the other accused in the gold smuggling case seeking bail in the case registered under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) against them by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

When the appeals against the NIA Special Court’s order rejecting their bail pleas came up for hearing before Justice K. Vinod Chandran and Justice C. Jayachandran, the NIA opposed the bail pleas and argued that Swapna and the other accused were “the frontliners” in the gold smuggling case and the case registered by the NIA.

The submission was made by Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju appearing for the NIA. He contended that if the charge-sheet filed in the NIA Special Court was perused, it would show that the accused were frontliners and the charges against them grave.

The NIA case is that the accused, including Swapna, with the requisite knowledge and intention to threaten and destabilise the economic security of the country, had conspired, recruited persons, formed a terrorist gang, raised funds, and smuggled gold from the UAE in large quantity using the diplomatic channel and damaged the country’s friendly relations with the UAE and thereby committed terrorist activities punishable under Sections 15,16, 17, 18 and 20 of the UAPA.

Precedent

The Additional Solicitor General further submitted that despite the finding that smuggling of gold did not fall under the ambit of Section 15 of the UAPA ( terrorism), the High Court had earlier denied bail to Mohammed Shafi, the seventh accused in the case. Therefore, the same yardstick could be applied in these cases as well.

Counsel for Swapna and other accused contended that the charge-sheet did not disclose the involvement of transnational forces and financing of terrorism as alleged during the investigation period.

The crime was registered for the offence under the UAPA on the suspicion that the proceedings of smuggling might have been used for financing terrorism in the country. However, the charge-sheet filed after the conclusion of the investigation had ruled out the possibility of financing terrorism and the involvement of the transnational forces, they contended.


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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 7:59:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/nia-tells-kerala-high-court-that-charges-against-swapna-suresh-and-other-accused-in-gold-smuggling-case-is-grave/article37163276.ece

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