IAS officer grilled in Kerala gold smuggling case moves HC for anticipatory bail
Senior Indian Administrative Service officer M Sivasankar, who was Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s secretary, moved the Kerala High Court for anticipatory bail on Wednesday after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summoned him yet again in connection with the gold smuggling case.
He was suspended in July after his alleged link with one of the main accused in the gold smuggling case Swapna Suresh came to light.
In his plea for anticipatory bail, he contended that he has been questioned for more than 90 hours by different central agencies and they failed to detect any anomalies. He said he was fully cooperating with the investigation. The officer claimed that agencies were under pressure to arrest him to satisfy some vested interests. The plea will be taken up on Thursday.
There are reports the ED will file a case against him for money laundering. During investigation it found that he had made several foreign trips and in some of them official permission was not sought. He was reportedly also aware of the questionable integrity of Swapna Suresh but went out of the way to help her.
The smuggling case came to light on July 5 after 30 kg of gold was seized from a consignment for the UAE consulate. P Sarith Kumar, a former employee of the consulate who came to receive it, was arrested by the Customs department. Two other suspects, 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. A multi-agency team headed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is probing the case and 30 people have been arrested so far.