The duo is likely to serve one year of preventive detention as per the COFEPOSA Act.

Swapna in police custody
news Gold smuggling case Friday, October 16, 2020 - 19:33

Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, who are among the key accused in the case of gold smuggled via diplomatic channels in Kerala, have been moved from a prison in Kochi to one in Thiruvananthapuram. The duo is currently serving one year of preventive detention as per the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling (COFEPOSA) Act 1974.

While Swapna has been shifted to the smaller and less crowded Women Prison and Correctional Home in Attukulangara, Thiruvananthapuram, Sandeep has been put up in the Poojapura Central Jail. The women’s prison only has 35 inmates currently, of which Swapna is the only inmate serving detention under the COFEPOSA Act. She will also have access to the better amenities including a bed in the cell, visitors and permissions for phone calls.

Meanwhile, Sandeep has been shifted to the Poojapura Central jail. According to reports, the central prison which is far more crowded will not have many amenities to offer. Sandeep will also have restrictions on the number of visitors and the phone calls he will get to make. As an inmate serving preventive detention under COFEPOSA, Sandeep will also only be allowed to make phone calls in the presence of officers appointed by Customs officials.

On Thursday, Swapna’s legal counsel withdrew her bail application which was submitted in the NIA special court in Kochi. This was followed by the other accused PS Sarith’s counsel too withdrawing his bail plea. The NIA court granted bail to 10 other accused in the case - who are jewellery stores owners who had allegedly purchased the smuggled gold.

According to reports, the legal counsel of both the accused decided to withdraw the bail plea, as they were aware that it was unlikely that the court would accept them.

On Wednesday, the court accepted NIA’s petition asking to extend the remand period of the accused to 180 days. The NIA was earlier allowed custody of the accused for a maximum of 90 days.

Considering this decision, Swapna and Sarith’s counsels believed that the court would deliver a verdict in favour of the accused. Although Swapna was granted bail in the case registered by the Customs as well as that of the Enforcement Directorate, it was unlikely that she would be released from prison even if she secured a bail from the NIA court.