Kerala gold smuggling: Customs invokes COFEPOSA Act against Swapna and Sandeep

Under the Act, accused persons can be kept in prison for upto a year, even if they secure bail in other cases.
Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair
Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair
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The Customs Department probing the controversial Kerala gold smuggling case on Saturday invoked the charges of Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities (COFEPOSA) Act. According to reports, with this, both the accused can be detained for upto one year even if they manage to get bail in various cases of different investigation agencies.

According to ANI, Customs officials on Saturday reached the prison the duo has been lodged in Ernakulam's Kakkanad, and handed over the detention orders to prison officials.

According to COFEPOSA Act 1974, the Act is invoked when foreign exchange regulations are violated and smuggling activities may have an increasingly deleterious effect on the national economy and has a serious adverse effect on the security of the state.

Swapna Suresh had recently secured bail in the case registered by Customs after the agency failed to submit chargesheet in the case within the stipulated time. However, she is still in prison as she is also booked in cases which have been registered by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Enforcement Directorate. Meanwhile, Sandeep had recently moved the special court stating that he is ready to turn approver in the case filed by the NIA. According to reports, these developments might have triggered the Customs Department to invoke COFEPOSA against the accused so that they can continue to be detained.

Both Swapna and Sandeep might be moved to the central prison in Thiruvananthapuram as reportedly, the COFEPOSA detainees are lodged there.

Meanwhile, the Customs on Saturday again quizzed suspended IAS officer M Sivasankar for 11 hours. Including Friday’s interrogation, the senior IAS officer has been quizzed for the fourth time by the Customs in connection with his alleged involvement with the accused persons in the case.

According to official sources, Sivasankar has been asked to appear before the agency again on October 13. He left the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate in Kochi at 10 pm after completing Saturday’s interrogation.

(With inputs from PTI)

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