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Gold smuggling: NIA unsure of terror motive

Opposing bail plea by two accused, Asst Solicitor Gen says NIA can’t rely on guess work, probe is on to get proof.

Published: 22nd October 2020 05:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd October 2020 05:38 AM   |  A+A-

The office of the National Investigation Agency in New Delhi.

The office of the National Investigation Agency in New Delhi. (File photo| AFP)

By Express News Service

KOCHI: After alleging terror funding and destabilising the economy of the country all this while, Assistant Solicitor General (ASG) on Wednesday told the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Court that the real objective of the accused persons behind the smuggling of gold through the diplomatic channel is yet to be established. ASG P Vijayakumar appeared for NIA opposing the bail petitions filed by Hamsath Abdul Salam and Samju T M on Wednesday. 

The ASG appeared before the court via Google Meet. In his oral submission, he opposed the bail pleas of the two accused claiming that the investigation is in a crucial stage. He submitted that the real objective of the accused persons is yet to be established by proof. He said NIA cannot rely on guess work and it has to obtain evidence and the investigation is going on in that direction. 

According to him, the court itself had observed that the case was of a serious nature. It is a time-consuming process. He also stated that analysis of only 22 out of 99 digital gadgets seized from accused persons could be completed by C-DAC till now. Once the analysis of other devices is completed, NIA will get more information.  

NIA prosecutor Arjun Ambalapatta said after the gold smuggling via the diplomatic channel came to light, agencies have been alert about similar smuggling attempts in other parts of the country as there are several foreign missions in India. He said accused persons had a history of smuggling gold and they should not be released on bail.

However, the defence counsel said NIA has failed to come up with any proof to establish terrorism charges behind gold smuggling. He said both accused who have applied for bail admit that they had received smuggled gold. But they intended to gain profit, not to fund terrorism as alleged by NIA. The court will issue its order on the bail petitions on Friday. On Wednesday, NIA received Sarith P S, Rameez K T, and Jalal A M in its custody till Friday. According to NIA, the Tanzanian connection of Rameez has to be probed. Similarly, they have to be confronted with facts disclosed by another accused, Sandeep Nair, in his confession statement.

Court permits Customs to arrest Swapna, Sarith
Kochi:
The Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences) Court on Wednesday permitted the Customs to record the arrest of gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh and Sarith P S in another case related to smuggling $1.9 lakh to the UAE in 2019. Swapna is currently lodged at Poojapura Central Jail in Thiruvananthapuram facing detention under the COFEPOSA while Sarith is at Viyyur Central Jail. The duo allegedly helped Egypt national Khalid who worked at the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram to smuggle out $1.9 lakh to the UAE.



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