Swapna and seven others were granted bail in the UAPA case against them by the National Investigation Agency on Tuesday, November 2.

Kerala gold smuggling case key accused Swapna Suresh PTI
news Gold smuggling case Saturday, November 06, 2021 - 12:31

Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the sensational Kerala gold smuggling case through diplomatic channels, has been released from jail. She was housed at the women’s jail in Attakulangara in Thiruvananthapuram district for 15 months before her release. Swapna’s mother Prabha Suresh, arrived at the jail on the afternoon of Saturday, November 6, with a copy of Swapna’s bail order. Swapna did not react to the reporters who were waiting outside. Holding her mother’s hand, she walked out of Attakulangara women’s jail in Thiruvananthapuram.

Swapna and seven others were granted bail in the UAPA case against them by the National Investigation Agency on Tuesday, November 2. The NIA, the Enforcement Directorate and the Customs conducted separate investigations into the racket that was busted with the seizure of gold worth Rs 15 crore from the diplomatic baggage of the UAE Consulate at Thiruvananthapuram airport on July 5, 2020.

Several people including Sivasankar, the former Principal Secretary to the Kerala Chief Minister, former employees of the UAE consulate — Swapna Suresh and Sarith PS — were arrested in connection with the case.

The NIA had earlier, while opposing their bail pleas, told the High Court that Swapna and others committed a terrorist act by smuggling 167 kg of gold into India from the UAE between November 2019 to June 2020, as they knew that doing so would threaten the security and economic stability of the country. The agency had also said that Swapna and the others involved in the smuggling of gold through diplomatic channels were also aware that their actions would damage India's relations with UAE and therefore, the offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for terrorist act, conspiracy and being part of a terror organisation were made out.

In its investigation into the gold smuggling case, the Customs had claimed two key accused alleged that money was sent to Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan while he was in the UAE, through the UAE Consular officers in Thiruvananthapuram. Gold smuggling accused and former staff of the Consulate, Sarith PS and Swapna Suresh were cited in the 77 page show cause notice issued on July 29, to have levelled the allegation.

Sandeep Nair, the fourth accused in the case who was recently let out on bail in October, alleged that he was under pressure from senior ED officials to implicate CM Pinarayi Vijayan and other leaders, including former minister KT Jaleel, former Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan, former IT Principal Secretary Sivasankar and CPI(M) Secretary Bineesh Kodiyeri. He had reportedly made the allegation in a letter sent to the chief judicial magistrate in Ernakulam while he was in judicial custody. After he was released from jail, he said that most charges were foisted on him, and that he would further take up the matter in court.

(With PTI inputs)