ED grills Kerala CM’s former secretary in gold smuggling case
M Sivasankar was suspended last month after his alleged links with Swapna Suresh, one of the main accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case surfaced.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday grilled M Sivasankar, a senior Indian Administrative Service officer and former principal secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in connection with the gold smuggling case, official said.
Sivasankar was earlier questioned by the National Investigation Agency and Customs department in the same case.
The ED had made a submission in the special court dealing with economic offences in Kochi saying after questioning Swapna Suresh, second accused in the smuggling case, it came to know that Sivasankar was aware of her questionable integrity.
It also said when the state government officials went to the United Arab Emirates in 2018 to seek flood assistance she was in the country to co-ordinate their visit. It showed she had considerable influence at the CM’s office, the ED said in the affidavit.
The Kerala gold smuggling case hit the headlines on July 5 when the Customs seized 30 kg of gold that came in an air consignment for the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.
P Sarith Kumar, a former employee of the consulate who came to take the consignment was arrested by the Customs after the seizure of the gold and two others – Swapna Suresh and Sandip Nair, were arrested from their hideout in Bengaluru five days later. Sivasankar was suspended after his alleged links with Suresh surfaced.
Meanwhile, the NIA arrested four more persons in connection with the case. With this total arrest has gone up to 20. It also carried out raids at six places in Kozhikkode and Malappuram districts. The NIA took over the case a week after the seizure. Other Central agencies like the Customs, ED, Income Tax and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence are assisting the NIA.