KOCHI: An accused in Thiruvananthapuram gold smuggling case and a friend of deceased violinist Balabhaskar, on Wednesday, approached Ernakulam Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offence) claiming that he was tortured by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials to give a false statement.
Prakash Thambi, hailing from Thiruvananthapuram, was arrested by DRI on suspicion of smuggling gold for a Thiruvananthapuram-based racket.
Thambi, in a petition filed before the court, requested not to accept his statement recorded by DRI under section 108 of Customs Act. According to him, he was tortured by DRI officers to give a statement against one of his relatives.
He claimed the both were never involved in any smuggling activities and that he was framed by DRI in the smuggling case.
Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate recorded the complaint raised by Thambi regarding physical torture. Meanwhile, DRI officials denied torturing the accused while in their custody. DRI officials claimed that Thambi came up with the allegation after realising that his statement, under section 108 of Customs Act, could be used as evidence in the case.
His remand period was further extended till June 26 and shifted to Ernakulam Sub Jail.
‘Don’t mix Balabhaskar’s death and smuggling’
While being brought to the court complex, Thambi told reporters that Balabhaskar’s death had nothing to do with the gold smuggling incident.
“There is no mystery behind the accident and Balabhaskar’s death. These are unwanted controversies. At the time of the accident, Arjun was driving the car. These facts are already in the know. Is it wrong to stand like a brother after the accident?,” he asked.
The DRI last month busted a racket that smuggled over 400 kg of gold through Thiruvananthapuram airport. The racket was operating with the assistance of officials in the airport. A Customs Superintendent was arrested by DRI for facilitating the gold smuggling racket.