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Kochi court directs action against customs officials who leaked Swapna Suresh's statement

ANI | Updated: Dec 01, 2020 18:20 IST

Kochi (Kerala) [India], December 1 (ANI): A special court in Kochi on Tuesday directed the Customs Commissioner to take necessary action against officials who allegedly leaked the statement of Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case.
The Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences) court directed Chief Commissioner of Customs (Preventive), Kochi, to take strict disciplinary action against the erring officer.
The court issued the order while also dismissing a contempt of court proceeding sought by Swapna Suresh against Customs officers and media for leaking a portion of her statement given to the investigation agency. It also asked the Commissioner to file a detailed report in a sealed cover.
"There may be honest officers among them with impeccable integrity. One drop of poison is enough to spoil litres of honey or milk. Is it prudent to proceed with the process of investigation without having a mechanism to at least identify the poison?" the court noted condemning the Customs for leaking the statement.

The court observed that it is not expected to tolerate such unethical practice of officer/officers that may ultimately harm the fair investigation. Needless to say, the possibility of a fair trial is remote in the absence of fair investigation, the court noted.
"In this backdrop, it appears that monitoring the process of investigation to rule out the chance of the aforesaid malpractice is inevitable in the interest of justice," it further observed.
Concluding, the court held that by claiming that all its observations in the order are mainly meant to make the investigation agency more alert and active in a manner helping the trial court to discharge its function of fair adjudication.
The case, which is currently being probed by the Enforcement Directorate, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Customs Department, pertains to the smuggling of gold in the state through diplomatic channels.
The matter had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crore, smuggled in a diplomatic cargo, was busted by the Customs in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5. Meanwhile, the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau named Sivasankar as the fifth accused in the Wadakkanchery life mission scam case. (ANI)