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Nedumbassery gold smuggling: Preventive detention of eight accused confirmed

Nedumbassery gold smuggling: Preventive detention of eight accused confirmed

Kochi: The COFEPOSA advisory board has confirmed preventive detention of eight accused in a major gold smuggling case, Customs officials said here today.

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 racket 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--, the officials said.

Except Faisal, who is still absconding, all others were detained and imprisoned in the Central prison, Thiruvananthapuram in October last year.

The COFEPOSA Advisory board, comprising three Delhi High Court judges, heard the detunes in the last week of December and confirmed detention of the eight accused, they said.

Customs said it has initiated adjudication proceedings against 57 accused and showcause notice issued to all of them.

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.

The racket was busted in May last year after the Special Investigation and Intelligence Branch (SIIB) of Customs seized 13 kg gold hidden under the seats of a bus ferrying passengers from the aircraft to the terminal.

Anticipating that the accused may again involve in similar illegal attempts, customs had initiated a process this July to detain some of them under COFEPOSA, which allows detention of an accused for a year without trial unless the order is quashed by a court.

Over 30 persons, including several ground-handling staff at the airport who were found involved in the crime, were arrested by SIIB in the case.

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