Kerala gold smuggling case accused Swapna Suresh granted bail
The Kerala High Court on Tuesday granted bail to Swapna Suresh, the main accused in last year's gold smuggling case. On Monday, the court's division bench, comprising Justices K Vinod Chandran and C Jayachandran, had reserved its judgment in the pleas filed by Suresh and Sarith PS, another accused in the case. She has been in jail since July 2020. Here are more details.
- Tuesday's order would allow Suresh to walk out of the Attakulangaara women's prison in Thiruvananthapuram in connection with the high-profile case.
- The bail was granted in a case filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
- She had earlier secured bail in cases filed by the customs department and the Enforcement Directorate.
Suresh has been granted bail on a bail bond of Rs. 25 lakh and two solvent sureties. The High Court also granted bail to seven other accused - Sarith PS, Mohammed Shafi P, Jalal AM, Rabins Hameed, Ramees KT, Sharafudeen KT, and Mohammad Ali - in the case. However, three of them will remain imprisoned until their COFEPOSA Act period ends.
"Since the court had earlier quashed her COFEPOSA preventive detention order and granted bail in other cases in connection with the gold smuggling case, she will be released from jail very soon," Sooraj T Elenjickal, the counsel for Suresh, told The New Indian Express.
The high-profile smuggling case had surfaced in July last year after the seizure of 30 kg gold from diplomatic baggage. The consignment was addressed to the Consulate General of the United Arab Emirates in Thiruvananthapuram. Several people including the former Principal Secretary to the Kerala Chief Minister and former employees of the UAE consulate were arrested in the case.
During the hearing, the NIA said that Suresh had the requisite knowledge and intention to hurt the economic security of the country. Her actions also damaged India's relations with the UAE and she should be charged under the anti-terror law, the agency argued. The accused, on the other hand, said there is no legal evidence to support the NIA's claims.