Customs Service Consider Relocating Accused Of Smuggling Gold From Kerala To Another State | Latest India News

The customs service investigating the Kerala gold smuggling case is considering moving the main defendant in the case to a neighboring state, alleging intervention from multiple sides, HT has learned.

Last week, one of the defendants, PS Sarith, told a court that he had been pressured to take the names of the leaders of Congress and the BJP.

Five main defendants are in prison under the Currency Conservation and Prevention of Contraband Activities Act (Cofeposa). One of them, Sarith, testified in court alleging that prison authorities tortured him and forced him to take the names of leaders of Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to implicate them in the case. Later, the central prison authorities in Thiruvananthapuram denied this and filed a counter-complaint against him and another defendant KT Ramees, claiming that they routinely flouted prison standards and discipline.

“It’s a serious problem. We plan to move the High Court with a plea to transfer these defendants to another prison. The threat to the detainees in Cofeposa is really serious and we have also informed the central government, ”said a senior customs official who did not wish to be named.

He said the Center could also ask the Supreme Court to transfer all gold smuggling cases to another state if the situation persisted.

Earlier, the mother of another defendant named Swapna Suresh also claimed that her daughter was threatened with death for not changing her statements. She alleged that many members of the CM office knew that the smuggling was done through the consulate office. Then the head of the consulate used to visit the CM quite often, she alleged.

Congress and the BJP lamented the alleged decision to involve its leaders. “The ruling CPI (M) will have to pay a heavy price for this,” said state congressman K Sudhakaran. “Desperate, the government wants to tarnish the image of opposition leaders,” said BJP chairman K Surendran.

At least four central agencies (Customs, Tax Intelligence, Enforcement Directorate (ED) and NIA) are involved in the gold smuggling investigation. The sensational case came to light on July 5 last year after 30 kilograms of gold were seized from a shipment that arrived at the UAE consulate in the state capital camouflaged as a diplomatic shipment.

Central agencies and the state government have repeatedly fought on the matter. The government filed a complaint against the ED last year and subsequently formed a judicial commission against it, saying it was trying to implicate many heads of state, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in this case.

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