In a stunning revelation, a sitting judge of Kerala High Court on Monday said that smugglers had offered him Rs 25 lakh to save an accused detained under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act.Justice K.T. Sankaran made the oral observation and pursuant to this, VACB special cell SP Sasidharan met the judge later in the day and collected information. Vigilance director Jacob Thomas asked the SP special cell to look into the matter.
A division bench comprising Justice Sankaran and Justice A. Hariprasad also recused themselves from hearing the petitions challenging the preventive detention order issued against the accused persons in the gold smuggling case.The case pertains to the smuggling of 2,000 kg of gold through Cochin International Airport with the help of airport staff, including an ex-immigration officer.
The judge said that he received a phone call offering Rs 25 lakh or above if there was an order in favour of an accused. The bench observed, “quite unfortunately, we are not in a position to hear the cases for reasons beyond our control.”