Kerala HC judge says offered 25 lakh bribe, recuses from hearing gold smuggling case
Kochi, June 6: A senior judge of the Kerala High Court on Monday said in open court that he was offered Rs 25 lakh bribe in a COFEPOSA case involving members of a major gold smuggling racket, following which a division bench recused from hearing the case.
As the case came up for hearing, Justice K T Sankaran said he was offered Rs 25 lakh bribe in the COFEPOSA case by the accused.
The bench comprising Justice Sankaran and Justice A Hariprasad then recused from hearing the case because of “reasons beyond our control”.
The judge announced the decision while the Division Bench was considering a batch of petition challenging the preventive detention order issued against the accused under the COFEPOSA Act.
In January this year, the COFEPOSA advisory board had confirmed preventive detention of eight accused in the major gold smuggling case.
Provisions of the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act (COFEPOSA) were invoked against nine accused in the Nedumbassery gold smuggling case in which about 2,000 kg of gold was smuggled through Cochin International Airport for a base at Muvattupuzha with the help of airport staff,including an ex-immigration officer.
The Central Economic Intelligence Bureau, New Delhi has issued detention order against nine accused— Noushad P A, Faisal P A, Salim M M, Fazil K B, Yasir Ibnu Muhammed, Syfudheen M S, Jabin K Basheer, Bibin Scaria and Shinoy Mohandas.
Except Faisal, who is still absconding, all others were detained and imprisoned in the Central prison, Thiruvananthapuram in October last year.
The racket was busted in May last year after the Special Investigation and Intelligence Branch of Customs seized 13 kg gold hidden under the seats of a bus ferrying passengers from the aircraft to the terminal.
The accused had allegedly smuggled around 2,000 kg gold worth hundreds of crores of rupees through the Cochin international airport in a period less than two years.