Swapna Suresh, one of the key accused in the controversial Kerala gold smuggling case, was granted bail in the case registered against her by the Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday. However, Swapna will continue to be jailed as there is a case registered by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) which is still under investigation. Earlier this month, Swapna had been granted bail in a case registered by the Customs Department, which is conducting a parallel inquiry into the gold smuggling.
Though the ED had recently submitted a partial chargesheet in the case, the Principal Sessions Court in Kochi granted her bail. On Saturday, Customs Department had invoked the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities (COFEPOSA) Act against Swapna Suresh and another key accused Sandeep Nair. As per this, reportedly, the accused can be detained in prison even if they secure bail. The Act is invoked when foreign exchange regulations are violated and that has a serious effect on the security of the nation.
The case pertains to smuggling of 30kg of gold through diplomatic baggage from Thiruvananthapuram airport. Investigation agencies said that the racket, which included Swapna, Sandeep Nair and Sarith PS, a former colleague of Swapna in the UAE Consulate, had earlier smuggled gold in a similar way at least 20 times.
Meanwhile, Swapna has also filed a bail application in the NIA case and it will be considered by the court on Thursday. Notably, last week, the NIA court in Kochi had come down heavily on the central investigation agency stating that it cannot continue to believe that there was evidence against the accused to charge Unlawful Atrocities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) as the agency had not reportedly given proof for the same yet. The court had also asked the agency to submit the case diary and sought a list with clear segregation of the 30 accused, according to who all are directly involved and those who are conspirators and investors.