Kerala gold smuggling case: Court rejects bail plea of Swapna Suresh

PTI, Aug 21, 2020, 2:53 PM IST

Kochi: A special court here on Friday dismissed the bail plea of Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the Kerala gold smuggling scandal, in a case registered by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the money trail of the illegal trade.

The special PMLA court dismissed her bail plea on the ground that the accused, in a statement given to the ED under Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), has admitted that she had roles in hatching the conspiracy and smuggling the gold from the foreign country. Opposing the bail application moved by Suresh, the ED had said that the accused had disclosed to it her association with other accused and also of some others who are involved in the crime.

Noting that the revelations made by her indicate that she had ‘considerable influence’ in the office of Kerala Chief Minister, the ED said if she is released on bail, there is a chance of tampering with evidence and also influencing the witnesses.

The Investigating Agency said it apprehends hurdles in the progress of the investigation, if the petitioner is enlarged on bail now. The investigation is progressing and persons connected with the crime and having influence have also to be questioned, the ED said.

Earlier, an NIA court and an Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Economic Offences, had also dismissed her bail pleas in separate cases registered by NIA and Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate. Multiple agencies including NIA, Customs and Enforcement Directorate are probing the case of smuggling of gold worth over Rs 100 crore through diplomatic baggage addressed to the UAE consulate at Thiruvananthapuram since November last year.

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