SC to examine whether gold smuggling can be termed terrorist activity
New Delhi, March 9 (IANS): The Supreme Court has agreed to examine a query if smuggling of gold could be termed as a terrorist activity under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
A bench of Justices R.F. Nariman and B.R. Gavai sought response from the Centre and National Investigating Agency (NIA) on a plea challenging the Rajasthan High Court order.
The High Court had refused to quash the FIR registered by the probe agency under the offences of UAPA.
Mohammad Aslam, the petitioner in the matter, was caught at Jaipur International Airport for smuggling over 1.5 Kg gold. Aslam has moved the top court, through advocate Aditya Jain, seeking stay of investigation and the proceedings connected with FIR, which was registered by NIA under provisions of UAPA.
“Issue notice”, said the top court in its order.
The plea has contested NIA’s registration of an FIR citing that the gold was smuggled with the intent to threaten the economic security and also attacking the monetary stability of the country. Initially, the customs officials registered an FIR, later the NIA registered a second FIR after the case was transferred to it. The petitioner has argued NIA’s allegations of economic terrorism are arbitrary. The petitioner contended he lost his job in Saudi Arabia, where he worked as a labourer, during the Covid pandemic.
“The FIR is baseless on this ground and deserves to be quashed as the NIA could not show any such intent of the petitioner. Moreover, any such act would not alone attract the offence under UAPA. The smuggling of gold should have been dealt under the corresponding provision of the Customs Act and not UAPA”, his plea said.
Aslam claimed a person identified as Lal Mohammad influenced him to deliver some amount of gold to an unknown person in Jaipur and in lieu of that he promised to book a return ticket to Jaipur and offered Rs. 10,000.
The petitioner claimed he was trapped by Lal Mohammad.
He argued that there is nothing on record to show gold smuggling is connected with funding terrorism. Aslam insisted he had no connection with any terrorist or any extremist group.