An NIA court in Kochi dismissed the bail petition of Kerala gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh on Monday. Moreover, the court also dismissed the bail pleas of 6 others including key accused-P.S Sarith, K.T Ramees and Sandeep Nair.
As per sources, Swapna Suresh and other accused had contended that the investigation in the high-profile gold smuggling case was over and that they should now be out on bail since they had been in custody for 'a long period.' The accused had also contended that the charges against them are 'not sustainable before law', citing the observations made by the High Court previously in the case.
Notably, the Kerala HC had said that gold smuggling did not fall under the ambit of offences included in UAPA or terrorism which Suresh and others cited to present their bail application. The court, however, dismissed the bail application fo all 7 in the case.
Pertinently, trouble is mounting for Swapna Suresh even outside the NIA custody over her explosive statements where she had alleged that Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan was 'very much involved' in the scam. Following this, the Kerala Police registered an FIR against ED officials for 'forcing' Suresh to give such statements.
The high-profile scam came to light after Customs officials seized 30 kg of gold worth Rs.15 crore at the Thiruvananthapuram Airport from a diplomatic cargo addressed to a person in the UAE Consulate in July 2020. Sarith PS who worked at the UAE Consulate was apprehended in this regard. Subsequently, Swapna Suresh, an ex-Consulate employee working as the manager of the Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited and M Sivasankar, the ex-Principal Secretary to Kerala CM were also arrested in this case.
The NIA through the course of its investigation has alleged that the accused had smuggled 167 kg of gold between November 2019 and June 2020 through import cargo addressed to diplomats at the Consulate General of UAE in Thiruvananthapuram. It has also alleged that it had plans to expand this smuggling business to countries such as Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.