After more than 15 months in jail, Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) case in the sensational gold smuggling scam, has been granted bail by the Kerala High Court.
A division bench comprising Justices K Vinod Chandran and C Jayachandran pronounced the judgment after having heard the submissions made by all the parties.
The bench granted bail to the other accused, Mohammed Shafi P, Jalal A M, Rabins Hameed, Ramees K T, Sharafudeen K T, Sarith P S, and Mohammed Ali. The court has directed the petitioner to furnish a bond of Rs 25 lakh and two solvent sureties for the sum.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Enforcement Directorate (ED), and the Customs conducted separate investigations in the infamous gold smuggling case, which had led to a political controversy in Kerala. Gold worth Rs 15 crore was seized from the diplomatic baggage of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) consulate at Thiruvananthapuram airport on 5 July 2020.
Several people, including Sivasankar, the former Principal Secretary to the Kerala Chief Minister, and former employees of the UAE consulate, Suresh and Sarith P S, were arrested in connection with the case.
The NIA had earlier opposed their bail pleas stating that the accused had committed a terrorist act that threatened the security and economic stability of the country, and that would potentially damage India's relations with the UAE.
The court had quashed the continued preventive detention of Swapna Suresh under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities (COFEPOSA) but the court had dismissed the plea.
Counsel representing Swapna Suresh and other accused had argued that the charge sheet did not disclose the involvement of transnational forces and financing of terrorism as was alleged during the investigation period.