By SM.10 Jul, 2020
KOCHI: A day after the Centre handed over probe into the Kerala gold smuggling case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Kerala High Court on Friday adjourned hearing of anticipatory bail plea of a key accused till Tuesday. The hearing was deferred after Centre’s counsel Ravi Prakash told the court that since the NIA has taken over the probe, the High Court cannot entertain the bail plea, which, he said, should be taken up by a special court. The petition was considered online on Friday.
The NIA said that Swapna, Sandeep and Sarith were involved in gold smuggling and urged the court not to grant anticipatory bail to them. The central government argued that the gold was being smuggled to accumulate cash for terrorist activities and that Swapna must be questioned under custody.
Notably, the anticipatory bail plea was filed by Swapna Suresh, one of the two main accused in the case. While the other accused, who claims to have worked at the UAE Consulate-General in state capital Thiruvananthapuram, has already been arrested, Swapna has gone ‘underground’.
Swapna, who herself is reported to have worked at the UAE Consulate-General, was sacked from the state I-T Department after the case came to light. M Sivasankar, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s special secretary, who was involved in hiring of Swapna, too has been transferred.
The controversy pertains to seizure of 30 kg gold, worth crores, at the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport last Sunday from an air consignment from the UAE to the country’s consulate in the city. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who has came under fire for his alleged role in the case, on Thursday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking ‘effective investigation’ into the case.
The court has not stayed Swapna’s arrest. She had approached the court via online on Wednesday seeking anticipatory bail.
In the petition Swapna argued that she was not involved in the gold smuggling and that she intervened to get the baggage as per instructions from the UAE consulate.