Ernakulam (Kerala) [India], July 21 (ANI): Swapna Prabha Suresh, a prime accused in the high-profile gold smuggling case, on Tuesday filed a bail plea in a special NIA court in Kerala's Ernakulam district claiming innocence.
Suresh, in her bail plea, submitted that she is innocent of the allegations levelled against her and claimed that the current case is the offshoot of the political rivalry between the state and the Central governments.
Three key accused in the matter -- Sarith PS, Swapna Suresh, and Sandeep Nair -- are currently under the custody of the NIA, which is probing the high profile case related to the smuggling of gold through diplomatic channels in the state.
The matter had come to light after 30 kg of gold worth Rs 14.82 crore smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage was busted by customs in Thiruvananthapuram.
According to the plea, it is alleged that the petitioner contacted the Assistant Commissioner of Customs requesting the release of the baggage evidencing her involvement in the smuggling.
"The petitioner was the Secretary to his excellency, the Consul General, Consulate of UAE, Trivandrum. Though she was not in service, she was maintaining good relationship with the Consulate and they used to assign certain works concerning the diplomats and their families to her as work on a request basis," the bail plea said.
"The petitioner was called by the Charge De Affairs of the Consulate of UAE to enquire about the delay in the release of a cargo addressed to him which reached the airport on 30-6-2020. The petitioner contacted the Assistant Commissioner of Customs and enquired about the delay in the release of cargo addressed to the Charge De Affairs, Consulate of UAE and she was informed that it was delayed due to the strict adherence of COVID-19 protocol," it added.
The plea said that she was not aware of the gold inside the baggage/cargo when she contacted the Assistant Commissioner of Customs. "Had the petitioner got any clue about the gold or any prohibited item in the cargo she would not have contacted the Assistant Commissioner for the release of the baggage," it said.
In her bail plea, Suresh said that her name has been dragged into this case by the media alleging that she had tried to release the cargo using her influence.
"She was arrayed as an accused in the case by the Customs even though nothing was recovered from her, though she was not a party to the cargo, though she was not a party in facilitating the import of gold through the diplomatic channel. Soon the petitioner realized she was made as a scapegoat for political gain," the plea said. (ANI)