Smuggling gold through diplomatic channels is terrorist act: HC tells NIA while opposing Swapna Suresh’s bail request

The pleas of Suresh and a few others were adjourned by the judiciary until July 29.

Swapna Suresh and others committed an act of terrorism by smuggling 167 kg of gold into India from the United Arab Emirates between November 2019 and June 2020 because they knew it would threaten the security and economic stability of the country, said the National Investigation Agency (NIA). the High Court of Kerala.

The NIA also told the High Court that Suresh and others involved in smuggling gold through diplomatic channels also knew their actions would harm India’s relations with the UAE and, therefore, violations of the law on illegal activities (prevention) (UAPA). for terrorist act, conspiracy and membership of a terrorist organization are established.

The agency’s submissions were made against the bail application of Suresh, represented by attorney Sooraj T. Elenjickal, who approached the High Court against the NIA court order denying his bail request. bail.

She argued that the case against her would not stand the test of the law and that the trial in the case went on and on.

At Friday’s hearing before a bench of Judges K. Vinod Chandran and Ziyad Rahman AA, Mr. Elenjickal told the court that his client had been in detention for more than a year.

The lawyer made his submission after the court said it was adjourning Suresh’s plea to July 29 when similar pleas from some of the other defendants in the NIA case were listed.

The pleas of Suresh and a few others were adjourned by the court until July 29 to await the Supreme Court ruling in the NIA’s appeal against the bail earlier granted by the trial court and high court to a another batch of defendants in the case.

Opposing Suresh’s request for bail, the agency alleged: “The investigation by the NIA established that the first accused Sarith, the co-accused Swapna Suresh and others, knowing that their act of smuggling gold in large quantities in India would threaten the security and economic security of the country, destabilize the Indian economy and harm friendly relations with the United Arab Emirates, jointly committed the terrorist act. “The NIA also alleged that for committing the terrorist act, the accused conspired together, recruited people, formed a terrorist group, raised funds and smuggled around 167 kg of gold from the United Arab Emirates between November 2019 and June 2020 through import cargoes addressed to diplomats at the Consulate General of the United Arab Emirates in Thiruvananthapuram.

The agency also said that a request under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with the United Arab Emirates was sent to that country to obtain evidence from there as “a significant part of the transactions, in particular. reverse hawala financing and the purchase of smuggled gold, had occurred in the United Arab Emirates. “

He argued that the release on bail of the defendants, including Suresh, would seriously hamper the ongoing investigation into the case, as they could tamper with evidence and influence witnesses.

“In addition, the appellant (Suresh) has high connections both at home and abroad, which will be used to evade the legal process,” the NIA asserted.

In her plea, Suresh claimed she was falsely involved in it and was released on bail in Customs and PMLA cases related to the same alleged criminal activity of smuggling gold.

The bail requests of seven defendants in the case, including Suresh, KT Ramees, Sandeep Nair and PS Sarith, were dismissed by the NIA special court on March 22.

Various central investigative agencies are investigating the gold smuggling case after nearly 15kg of gold was seized at Thiruvananthapuram airport on July 5 last year in diplomatic baggage addressed to the consulate of United Arab Emirates.

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