New Delhi (ILNS): The Supreme Court today issued notice on a plea challenging the Kerala High Court order quashing the detention of two detenus  under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974 (COFEPOSA).

A two-judge bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra was hearing an appeal by the Union of India challenging the high court order on the pretext that it had exceeded its jurisdiction under Article 226.

The detention of the two accused Adnan Khalid and Faisal PA arose from the seizure of contraband from the body of a customs official, Francis CX, while he was trying to smuggle out about 3 kg of gold hidden in between his legs. The gold was held up by four briefs he was wearing. Three rectangular gold bars wrapped in black insulation tape were recovered. The Customs official, who was found with the contraband on his person, confessed that he received it from Adnan Khalid.

Statements were recorded from both Francis and Adnan Khalid, which revealed a ring operating within the airport which involved similar modus operandi in other cases also.

The high court bench comprising Justices Vinod Chandran and VG Arun, however, had observed that the detaining authority had not applied its mind and merely extracted the opinion of the sponsoring authority. Further, the bench observed that in the instant case the very crucial video footage from which the entire case was generated was not supplied to the detenu.

The corroborating facts, which could have led to a subjective satisfaction of a smuggling ring being in operation, as available from the call details and the travel details were not examined by the detaining authority. The detaining authority merely relied on the opinion of the sponsoring authority. The documents revealing the call details and the travel details were also not supplied to the detenu.

Accordingly the High Court had directed the release of both the detenus.

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