KOCHI: In a major blow to the Customs probing the smuggling of gold via the diplomatic channel, the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences) Court on Wednesday granted statutory bail to KT Rameez, the alleged mastermind of the incident, in the case registered by the agency after the latter failed to file a final report within 60 days of his arrest. The other accused persons will soon move court seeking bail.Rameez, who was arrested on July 12, filed the bail plea on Tuesday. Though he has received bail in the Customs case, he will not be released as the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has also registered a case against him.
The Customs, which had registered a case in the gold seizure from Thiruvananthapuram airport on July 5, is yet to file a final report in the case. “As per norms, the final report of the case has to be filed within 60 days of the arrest of an accused person. Under this provision, the other accused persons can also approach the court seeking bail,” said advocate Niresh Mathew who represented Rameez.
When the court considered Rameez’s petition on Tuesday, the Customs claimed that the probe was on and several pieces of evidence were to be collected. “However, as is usual practice, they could have filed a final report and said further probe was required. They could then have received enough time for the probe. They did not do this, which also indicates sufficient evidence has not been collected till now,” Niresh said.
While granting him bail, the court asked Rameez to execute a bond of `2 lakh with two solvent sureties each for the like sum. The sureties should produce original title deeds for verification. Rameez should appear before the probe officer every Monday between 10am and 11am for three months or until the filing of final report.
NIA team collects probe details from ED
Kochi: The NIA team probing the gold smuggling case, held a meeting with Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials, who are probing the money laundering aspect behind the smuggling, on Wednesday. A senior officer of ED from New Delhi also arrived in Kochi to evaluate the probe. The NIA team reached the ED office in the evening. ED sources said some of the facts and statements collected in the case were shared with NIA. “The statement of minister K T Jaleel given to us was also discussed.
We also sought some information collected by NIA,” said a source. Meanwhile, Sushil Kumar, special director, ED, from New Delhi visited the ED office in Kochi. He also held a meeting with the Assistant Solicitor General regarding the legal aspects. “Considering its nature, senior officers in New Delhi are also reviewing the case. Some key decisions have to be taken as we will question more persons soon,” said the ED source.
NIA gets three-day custody of accused
Kochi: The NIA has been granted the custody of an accused in the gold smuggling case for three days till Friday. The NIA Court issued the directive when accused Muhammad Anwar T M was produced before it on Wednesday. Though he was to be brought to the court on Tuesday as per the warrant, a technical error at Viyyur Central Jail delayed this. As part of the probe, the NIA had seized mobile phones and other digital devices from Anwar’s possession.
The gadgets were analysed with the help of C-DAC, Thiruvananthapuram, based on which his custody was sought for further interrogation. NIA has also sought the custody of Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the case. However, she could not be produced before the court due to medical reasons. The Viyyur Central Jail superintendent has filed a report about her medical condition and a warrant is likely to be issued to bring her to the court soon.