ED suspects former secretary of Kerala CM is real beneficiary of gold smuggling through diplomatic channel

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While opposing the bail plea, the ED submitted that it has come out in their investigation that the senior IAS officer was also receiving commission from the smuggling.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) believes that M Sivasankar, former principal secretary of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was a main beneficiary of the gold smuggling through diplomatic bags of the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.

The counsel for the national agency submitted its reasons for the suspicion in a sealed cover to the high court during the hearing on his application for anticipatory bail in two cases slapped against him by the ED as well as the Customs department on Friday, October 23.

While opposing the bail plea, the ED submitted that it has come out in their investigation that the senior IAS officer was also receiving commission from the smuggling.

"We have reason to believe that Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the case, was only a pawn and that Sivasankar was the real beneficiary. Swapna was completely under his control and strings were pulled by him. This is a possibility we are investigating," the ED submitted in the court.

A single bench of Justice Ashok Menon, after hearing arguments from all the sides, reserved the orders for October 28 with a direction to the agencies not to arrest Shivsankar till then.

The ED further submitted that their investigation had revealed that Sivasankar had contacted customs officials in Thiruvananthapuram airport for clearance of cargo and said there is a requirement of his custodial investigation to establish the truth.

"He has been lying right, left and centre. Even when he was confronted with WhatsAPP messages, he denied any involvement in the smuggling. Sivasnkar was aware of the dealings of Swapna Suresh. He is not telling the truth during the interrogation," the counsel for the ED said.

Opposing the bail plea, the customs department submitted that Sivasankar is elusive and evasive while answering serious questions and added that if he is granted bail, collection of evidence will be hampered.

The case, which is currently being investigated by the two agencies as well as the National Investigation Agency, pertains to smuggling of gold through diplomatic channels with the help of serving and ex-employees of the UAE consulate.

The matter had come to light after 20 kg of gold worth Rs.14.82 crore, smuggled in diplomatic cargo, was busted by the Customs in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5 (with inputs from ANI)

Image Credit: Asianet news   

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