THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It has come to the fore that lack of proper legal support from the prosecution and inherent weaknesses in the provisions of the law are helping smugglers who try to undermine the financial foundation of the country by smuggling gold into the country.
In the latest instance, the COFEPOSA Board on the other day released four notorious smugglers citing the loopholes of law, while the prosecution remained helpless before the high profile counsels who appeared for the smugglers.
Noushad, a notorious smuggler from Kasargod and his accomplices, Susha Sudhakar of Vanchiyoor in Thiruvananthapuram, Prakashan, a senior superintendent with the Airports Authority of India, and Manoj, manager of a Chennai-based housekeeping company, were the four accused who were released from preventive detention by the COFEPOSA Board comprising three senior High court Judges, namely Justice C R Ramachandran Nair (chairman), Justice Bhavadasan and Justice Abdul Raheem.
The Board released the accused citing the right of the defendants to be represented in a court of law under Article 22(5) of the Constitution.
Naushad, who had a stint as driver from 2011 in Qatar and Abu Dhabi, had his visa cancelled on May 29, 2014. Unemployed as he was, at Dubai, one Bengali friend introduced him to Shoaib, a native of Ernakulam. Shoaib offered to help him by giving gold, which had to be smuggled into India. Naushad contacted Prakashan, an acquaintance and sought a carrier. Prakashan offered to supply a woman carrier and assist in smuggling, if Rs 75,000 per kg of gold is paid. As his condition was accepted, Susha was brought in to the plan to carry gold from Dubai to Kozhikode.
According to the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), both Susha and Naushad flew to Calicut on the morning of November 2, 2014. Before boarding, Naushad had given 4 kg of gold to Susha to smuggle to Kozhikode. On her arrival at Karipur airport, Susha hid the contraband inside the ladies’ toilet at the emigration hall as instructed by Prakashan.
Later, Prakashan and Manoj retrieved the gold, and sneaked out with the contraband and handed over it to the Naushad, who was waiting outside. Prakashan received Rs 3 lakh, Manoj was given Rs 25,000 and Susha Rs 50,000 as remuneration. Naushad got Rs 1,30,000 for the deal.