Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case, was granted bail by a court in Kochi on Monday, in a case registered by the Customs department. The agency had not filed a charge sheet within the stipulated period of 60 days.
She will however continue to remain behind bars as the case and its alleged terror link is also probed by the National Investigation Agency. Swapna is also an accused in a case registered by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the money trail of the illegal trade.
The special court on Economic Offences granted statutory bail to Swapna as the Customs (Preventive) Commmissionerate did not file a charge sheet within the stipulated period of 60 days.
According to the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), an accused is entitled to default bail if a charge sheet is not filed within 60-90 days as per the offence.
Earlier, other key accused persons in the case, including Rameez and Sandeep Nair, were also granted default bail in the case being investigated by the Customs.
The smuggling came to the fore when Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate, Kochi, seized 30 kg of gold worth Rs 14.82 crore, which was found camouflaged in diplomatic baggage from the United Arab Emirates on July 5.
Swapna, a former employee of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, was arrested from Bengaluru in July, a few days after the gold was seized. She has been in the judicial custody of the NIA for months now. Last week, the NIA court in Kochi, had remanded her again in custody, after the earlier custody period ended. She is to remain in custody again till Thursday.
Swapna had requested the special court to move her from Thrissur prison and the court gave directions to officials to shift her to a prison in Ernakulam.
(With PTI input)
Watch: Swapna Suresh gets bail in Customs case