A two-judge bench of the Kerala High Court recused itself from hearing a gold smuggling case after one of the judges disclosed in open court Monday that he had been offered a bribe of Rs 25 lakh by the kin of the accused.
Senior judge K T Sankaran said relatives of the accused made the bribe offer over the phone. The Bench of Justices Sankaran and A Hariprasad subsequently recused from hearing the case due to “reasons beyond our control”.
Eight of the nine people, accused in the case under Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, are in preventive custody.
The racket, allegedly involving two former airport staff, is accused of smuggling in 2,000 kg gold from West Asia through Kochi airport between 2013 and 2015. Main accused Jabin Basheer then worked as an emigration officer; his relative, P A Noushad, worked with the ground handling wing and is one of the accused.