Swapna Suresh, the woman allegedly at the centre of the gold smuggling ring in Kerala | File photo: ANI

Text Size:

Kochi: A former woman employee of the UAE consulate, key suspect in the gold smuggling bid through diplomatic baggage, has been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) informed the Kerala High Court.

Making the submission while opposing the anticipatory bail application of Swapna Suresh, who is on the run, the counsels for the Centre and the NIA said she had criminal antecedents and was ‘involved’ in arranging diplomatic papers for the smuggling of the over 30 kg gold seized by the Customs recently in Thiruvananthapuram.

Custodial interrogation of the woman was required to ascertain her role in the smuggling bid through the Thiruvananthapuram international airport, they said.

The counsel for the NIA, which has been asked by the Centre on Thursday to probe the case, said there was a legal bar on high court entertaining anticipatory bail applications in cases investigated by the NIA.

After hearing the submissions, Justice Ashok Menon declined the prayer of the petitioner seeking interim protection against arrest.

Also read: Gold smuggling on the rise as high prices, higher taxes boost appeal of the yellow metal

He posted the plea of Suresh to Tuesday after her lawyer made a plea for adjournment, saying the decision to hand over the case to NIA was taken on Thursday evening only after the anticipatory bail petition was filed a day earlier.

We are deeply grateful to our readers & viewers for their time, trust and subscriptions.

Quality journalism is expensive and needs readers to pay for it. Your support will define our work and ThePrint’s future.