Kerala

Prove terror funding in gold smuggling case, court tells NIA

A view of National Investigation Agency (NIA) Headquarters, in New Delhi.

A view of National Investigation Agency (NIA) Headquarters, in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: V. Sudershan

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been asked by the NIA Special Court here to come up with evidence to substantiate its charges of terror funding in the diplomatic baggage gold smuggling case. If the agency is unable to come up with evidence to defend the charges, the court will not entertain the case under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on the accused, the NIA Special Judge informed the investigation agency on Wednesday while considering the bail application of Swapna Suresh, second accused in the case.

The accused were given in the custody of the investigation agency on the assurance that there was evidence to substantiate the charges. The accused had already been in the custody of the agency for over 15 days. The charges would not stand unless the agency succeeded to convince the court about the terror funding as alleged against them, the judge observed.

NIA’s stand

Arjun Ambalapatte, senior public prosecutor for the NIA, said there existed material evidence to prove the charges and the agency would produce the case diary and relevant materials before the court.

According to the NIA, while some of the accused might have got involved themselves in gold smuggling for monetary benefits, it was not monetary benefits alone that persons on either end of the crime were interested in. The NIA was probing the international and domestic links to the case, he submitted.

K. T. Rameeez, another accused in the case, was convicted in some other offences. He was an accused in a case related to the Arms Act and had close links with the accused in the smuggling case, the agency submitted.

Accused’s stand

However, Geo Paul, lawyer for the accused, said there was nothing on record to incriminate the accused to the UAPA. There were political reasons for slapping the UAPA on the accused. There was an ugly haste in invoking the sections of the Act against the accused, he said.

While the agency noted in the First Information Report and the remand report that the proceeds of the gold smuggling might have been used for terror funding, it later observed in the remand extension report that the accused made investments in bank using the proceeds of the crime.

There was no material on records to prove that the proceeds were used for terror funding, he said.

The court posted the case for August 4.

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2020 7:04:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/prove-terror-funding-in-gold-smuggling-case-court-tells-nia/article32222795.ece

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