Kerala gold smuggling case: State IT secretary M Sivasankar transferred amid opposition fire
The transfer of M Sivasankar, the senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer who is also a secretary to chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, came after opposition parties in the state stepped up pressure following the seizure of 30 kg gold from a diplomatic consignment on Sunday.Updated: Jul 07, 2020 12:02 IST
The Kerala government transferred its information technology secretary, M Sivasankar, on Tuesday, a day after the dismissal of an IT consultant amid allegations of her links to a gold smuggling racket in the state.
The transfer of M Sivasankar, the senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer who is also a secretary to chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, came after opposition parties in the state stepped up pressure following the seizure of 30 kg gold from a diplomatic consignment on Sunday.
The chief minister holds the IT portfolio.
The customs department had seized the gold from an air cargo consignment from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the country’s consulate in the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram. The action came after a green light from the ministry of external affairs.
Swapna Suresh, who was working as the operational manager of the Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited under the state IT ministry, is said to be on the run after the seizure.
After the customs department intensified its search for her, an embarrassed state government issued a terse statement, saying her contract with the IT department was terminated with immediate effect.
K Surendran, the state unit president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has alleged that she was close to IT secretary Sivasankar, who helped her get plum the assignment.
Sivasankar had said he was ready for any investigation and will share all information with the customs department.
He said since the investigation was on it would not be proper for him to comment on the case.
Vijayan denied reports that his office made any intervention.
“Customs is with the Union government. Let it investigate and find out the truth,” the chief minister said.