Transfer gold smuggling case to court outside Kerala, ED urges SC

As the agency is probing role of several high-profile persons, it fears witnesses may be influenced if the case is tried in Kerala 

July 20, 2022 11:02 pm | Updated 11:02 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Photo: Twitter/@dir_ed

Photo: Twitter/@dir_ed

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has approached the Supreme Court with a plea to transfer the Kerala gold smuggling case to a court outside the State.

The case is centered around the smuggling of large quantities of gold through diplomatic channels.

The agency is investigating the role of several high-profile persons. It apprehends that witnesses may be influenced if the case is tried in Kerala.

Recently, one of the accused, Swapna Suresh had given a confession statement under 164 (5) of the Criminal Procedure Code before a Magistrate in which she made explosive claims about Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his family. Her statements had raised a political uproar in the State.

The ED is conducting a probe based on the National Investigation Agency’s FIR against Sarith P.S., Swapna, Faisal Fareed and Sandeep Nair under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Seizure at airport

The smuggling racket was busted after the the Customs Commissionerate (Preventive), Cochin, seized gold worth ₹14.82 crore at the Trivandrum International Airport.

The seized gold was camouflaged as diplomatic baggage addressed to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) consulate, which has immunity from security check at airports under the Vienna Convention.

The ED said the consignment was to be received by Sarith P S, who had worked in the consulate as Public Relations Officer, in complicity with Swapna and others.

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