KOCHI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) probing the money trail behind the Kerala gold smuggling through the diplomatic channel filed a complaint (charge sheet) against three accused persons at Special Court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases in Kochi on Wednesday. The charge sheet was filed against Sarith PS, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair, the three key accused in the case.
"From the investigation under PMLA and evidence gathered so far, it is clearly established that accused persons committed offence of Money Laundering as defined section 3 and they are liable to be prosecuted and punished under section 4 of PMLA," said the charge sheet.
The charge sheet contained 303 pages in which 23 pages were related to findings by the ED as part of the probe. Similarly, 19 sets of documents used as evidence are also included in the charge sheet which alone runs to 276 pages.
According to ED sources, it has asked permission to conduct a further probe and file a supplementary charge sheet against the accused later. The current charge sheet was filed to prevent accused persons availing statutory bail on failing to file it before 60 days after their arrest. "The 60 days have been completed after the arrest of three accused persons. However, we will argue at the court to prevent them from getting statutory bail as we have filed a charge sheet now," the ED sources said.
Swapna has approached the court seeking statutory bail as 60 days had passed since her arrest. Her counsel Geo Paul submitted at the court that it's been over 70 days past since her arrest and she is eligible to get a bail. The submission was made by the court when her petition came into consideration on Wednesday. However, the court decided to hear ED as well before making a decision. The case was posted to Friday for further hearing.
Swapna was granted bail by Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences) in the case probed by Customs. She also has approached the NIA court for bail in the NIA case in which terrorism charges were evoked against her.