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FPJ Legal: Kerala High Court drops Cofeposa charges against Swapna Suresh in gold smuggling case - All you need to know

01:52 PM Oct 08, 2021 | FPJ Web Desk

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Friday dropped charges registered against gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities (Coefeposa) Act.

However, Swapna Suresh will continue to cool her heels in the jail here, as she faces charges slapped by the NIA probe team. Hearing a plea filed by her mother, a division bench of the court noted that the charges under Cofeposa do not hold good.

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The Customs probing the gold smuggling case had invoked provisions of the COFEPOSA against her in October last year. The national advisory board of the COFEPOSA had approved the proposal submitted by the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate probed the case.

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The gold smuggling case

The smuggling case came to light on July 5, 2020, when the Customs arrested Sarith, a former employee of the UAE Consulate here, for allegedly smuggling gold in a diplomatic baggage destined for the Consulate.

Swapna Suresh, who also worked previously in the UAE Consulate, and her associate Sandip Nair were arrested in the same case by the National Investigation Agency from Bengaluru a few days later and since then, all three have been in judicial custody.

The ED launched a money laundering probe on the basis of an FIR registered by National Investigation Agency (NIA) under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, against Sarith PS, Swapna Prabha Suresh, Faisal Fareed, Sandeep and others.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), the ED 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.

The Enforcement Directorate attached assets worth over Rs 15 crore, including cash belonging to Swapna Suresh.

The Customs Department had also registered case in connection with the seizure of 30.245 kg of 24 Karat gold worth Rs 14.82 crore at Trivandrum International Airport.

As many as nine cases were registered by the five central agencies and two state agencies that have been probing various angles related to the seizure of 30.245 kg of gold from the baggage addressed to a UAE diplomat at the Thiruvananthapuram consulate, as per a TNIE report.

Also Read: Kerala gold smuggling case: Prime accused Swapna Suresh sent to judicial custody till Oct 8

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