Ten accused in Kerala gold smuggling case granted bail

A court here on Thursday grantedconditional bail to ten accused arrested by the NationalInvestigation Agency (NIA) in connection with the Kerala goldsmuggling case.

The Special NIA court, however, dismissed bail pleas ofthree key accused.

Two other prime accused in the case Swapna Suresh andSarith PS withdrew their bail pleas on Thursday.

Granting bail to the ten accused with stringentconditions, the court directed them to execute a bond for Rs10 lakh each with two solvent sureties each for the like-sum.

They were also ordered to surrender their passports, notto leave the state without the courts permission and not makeany attempt to contact any of the prosecution witnesses.

Directing the accused to appear before the InvestigatingOfficer as and when required by him, the court said they shallalso present themselves before the station house officer (SHO)of their respective local police station between 10 am and 11am on every Sunday until further orders.

The NIA had on Wednesday opposed the bail pleas of theaccused, saying there was intelligence inputs regardingprobable use of proceeds from the gold smuggling for theanti-national and terrorism activities.

Indicating that it suspected the link of underworld donDawood Ibrahims gang in the sensational gold smugglingracket, the agency had argued the detention of all accused injudicial custody up to 180 days was absolutely necessary tocarry forward the investigation in the case.

In a related development, a special court here onThursday dismissed the bail plea of Sandeep Nair, another keyaccused, in the money laundering case linked to the goldsmuggling.

The NIA, probing the terror angle in the gold smugglingthrough diplomatic channel, initially named Sarith, SwapnaSuresh, and Sandeep Nair and Fazil Fareed as the accused inthe case which relates to the seizure of 30 kg of 24 caratgold worth Rs 14.82 crore at Thiruvananthapuram airport onJuly 5 by the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate, Kochi.

During the course of the investigation, NIA has arraignedat least 26 others as accused and arrested many of them.

Besides NIA, the Customs and Enforcement Directorate arealso probing the case of smuggling of gold through diplomaticbaggage addressed to the UAE consulate at Thiruvananthapuramsince November last year.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)

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