In a massive development on Tuesday, the Kerala High Court on Tuesday granted bail to Swapna Suresh and 7 other accused in the gold smuggling case registered by the NIA. Suresh has been behind bars since July 12, 2020, when she was arrested by the NIA from Bengaluru.
She was granted relief on a bail bond of ₹25 lakh and two solvent sureties.
Apart from Swapna, the appeals of Mohammed Shafi P, Jalal AM, Rabins Hameed, Ramees KT, Sharafudeen KT, Mohammad Ali and Sarith PS against the special NIA court’s order rejecting their bail pleas were also allowed by the division bench comprising Justices K Vinod Chandran and C Jayachandran.
A multi-agency probe was initiated after the seizure of 30 kg of gold worth Rs 14.82 crore on July 5 last year from a diplomatic baggage at the air cargo of the Trivandrum International Airport by the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate, Cochin. The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which took over the probe on the directive of the Union Home Ministry, had stated that the proceeds of smuggling could be used to fund terror activities.
Key accused P S Sarith, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair were subsequently arrested.
The court had earlier quashed the continued preventive detention of Swapna Suresh, prime accused in the gold smuggling case, under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities (COFEPOSA). The court , however, had dismissed the plea against the detention of PS Sarith, another accused in the gold smuggling case.
(With inputs from ANI)