Kerala

Swapna, Sarith in Customs custody

Swapna Suresh and P.S. Sarith, the two accused in the snuggling of US dollars from India to Muscat, were remanded to the custody of Customs for five days.

Though the Customs had sought the custody for seven days, C. Deepu, the judge of the Economic Offences Court, Ernakulam, noted that the prayer seemed to be slightly excessive and allowed five days’ remand.

The court noted that the source of Indian currency, the modus operandi of its accumulation and its conversion into dollars were under probe and it was highly essential to find out the key persons involved in the deal.

The affidavit submitted by the Customs indicated that the officials of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapruam, were involved in the smuggling of the dollars with the aid of high-profile persons.

It was just and essential to release the accused to the investigating officer for custodial interrogation considering the unprecedented smuggling activities committed by the officials of the consulate with the aid of the accused and other accomplice, the court noted.

The case

The Customs case is that Khaled Mohamed Ali Shoukry, the former finance head of the UAE Consulate, Thiruvananthapuram, smuggled $1,90,000 to Muscat from Thiruvananthapuram with the help of Swapna and Sarith. Smuggling of foreign currency is an offence punishable under Section 135 of the Customs Act.

The accused in the case had given the statement that Jamal Al Zaabi, the Consul General, and Rashed Ali Musaiqri, the Admin. Attaché of the UAE Consulate, Thiruvananthapruam, also smuggled huge amount of foreign currency by concealing it in their bags.

After retrieving the call data records and chats and perusing the travel history of the accused, the investigation officer concluded that the accused had actively abetted the commission of smuggling of dollars, according to the order.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2021 10:29:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/swapna-sarith-in-customs-custody/article33177210.ece

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