Court to NIA: Substantiate terror-link charge

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi/Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on July 29, 2020 Published on July 29, 2020

A NIA (National Investigation Agency) court in Kochi has told investigators it would not consider the ongoing case pertaining to the smuggling of gold under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act unless they are able to come up with supporting evidence.

The NIA Special Judge asked the investigation agency to substantiate its charges of terror funding in the case while considering the bail application of Swapna Suresh, the second accused, here on Wednesday. Custody of the accused was granted to the NIA on the premise that there is evidence to substantiate the charges.

The accused have been in NIA custody for over 15 days. The charges will not stand unless the agency convinces the court of terror funding as alleged, the judge observed.

Evidence exists, says NIA

The Senior Public Prosecutor for NIA said that there existed material evidence to prove the charges.

The agency shall produce the case diary and relevant materials before the court.

According to the NIA, while some of the accused might have got involved themselves in gold smuggling for monetary benefits, it was much more than that, when it came to persons pulling strings on either end of the racket.

The NIA is probing the international and domestic links to the case.

KT Rameez, another accused in the case, has already been convicted in some other offences. He was also an accused for an offence related to Arms Act and has had close links with the accused in the smuggling case as well, the agency submitted. However, the lawyer for the accused said there was nothing on record to invoke the UAPA in the case. He suspected that there are political reasons for slapping UAPA on the accused. He also added that provisions of the Act were sought to be applied here with “inexplicable haste.”

Terror funding

The agency had noted in the First Information Report and the Remand report that the proceeds of the gold smuggling might have been used for terror funding.

But in its remand extension report, it observed that the accused had made investments in banks using the proceeds of the crime.

There was no material on record to prove that the proceeds were used for terror funding, the lawyer said.

The court posted the case for August 4.

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Published on July 29, 2020
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