New Delhi: The Kerala government on Saturday opposed the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) plea to transfer the gold smuggling case to Karnataka. He has said that the petition of the investigating agency was to tarnish the Kerala government by making baseless allegations. The Kerala government, in an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, said that after investigation and collection of evidence and submission of a supplementary complaint, the prosecuting agency ED cannot seek transfer of the PMLA case to another state merely on the alleged grounds.
ED leveled baseless allegations
The Kerala government's affidavit states that the ED's application to transfer the PMLA case to another state is to tarnish the Kerala government by making baseless allegations. The Kerala government has filed the affidavit in response to the ED's plea to transfer the case from one state to another, as it has submitted that the petitioner has sought transfer of the hearing of the case pending before the special court for PMLA cases. No case has been made.
ED officials were not stopped from investigating
The Kerala government submitted that the estimates in the transfer petition are hypothetical apprehensions and are based on base estimates. The ED has said in its petition that no real reason has been given in the transfer petition for shifting the trial of the case from Kerala to Karnataka. The Kerala Government said that the petitioner has not established with any material that the State Police and the Government of Kerala have interfered or obstructed the investigation conducted by the Enforcement Directorate. The state government further said that there has not been a single incident in which the investigating officers of the Enforcement Directorate were prevented from discharging their duties.
Kerala urged to dismiss ED's plea
On behalf of the Government of Kerala, it has been said that in the instant case, the petitioner has not placed any material to justify that a fair trial is not possible in the State of Kerala except by relying on conjectures. The Kerala government has urged the Supreme Court to dismiss the ED's transfer petition. It has been submitted that the transfer has been sought on the ground of impossibility of fair trial by the prosecuting agency without any material, which is liable to be rejected, the affidavit said.
ED accused of influencing probe
The Enforcement Directorate had filed a petition seeking transfer of the trial in the case pending before the Special Court for PMLA Affairs, Ernakulam to a special court to hear PMLA cases in the state of Karnataka. In the petition filed by the Enforcement Directorate, the agency sought transfer of the trial on the ground that the respondents concerned are being influenced and intimidated through threats and false cases at the behest of senior officials of Kerala Police and the state government. Other defendants seek to thwart and derail the trial and thereby protect some powerful persons holding important positions in the government, who are involved in the case.
30 kg gold was seized in 2020
In the year 2020, the Customs Commissionerate (Preventive) Cochin registered a case at Sarit police station against former PRO of UAE Consulate Swapna Prabha Suresh, former Secretary of UAE Consulate, Sandeep Nair and others related to seizure of 30 kg of 24 carat . At that time, gold worth about Rs 14.82 crore was seized at the Trivandrum International Airport, which was disguised as diplomatic baggage for the UAE Consulate. According to the Vienna Convention, it is currently kept for examination at the airport.