NIA court says no to Customs' plea for transcript of Sandeep Nair's confession

Sandeep Nair

Kochi: The confession statement of Sandeep Nair, an accused in the diplomatic baggage gold smuggling case, will not be made available to the Customs Department for the time being. The special NIA court has rejected an application from the department requesting the transcript of the statement.

The NIA and the defendants opposed giving the transcript to the Customs Department. The NIA said that if the statement kept with the court in a sealed envelope gets leaked, it would adversely affect the investigation. The defendant also said that could even put Sandeep's life in danger.

Sandeep had made the confessional statement in a UAPA (Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act) case registered by the NIA. The agency is examining the possibility of making him an approver in the case.

Customs putting Sandeep Nair in preventive custody for a year by charging him under Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities (COFEPOSA) Act. COFEPOSA also gave the defendants a reason to oppose the department’s application.

The court also cited the rulings of higher courts that only the investigating officer has the right to obtain a copy of defendants' confessional statements.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has also filed a similar request.

The NIA court has granted bail to two accused in the case, Hamsath Abdusalam and Sanju on a bond of Rs 10 lakh and two sureties of equal amounts. With this, the number of persons granted bail in the UAPA case has increased to 12.

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