Former Kerala CM’s principal secretary remanded to judicial custody in Life Mission case

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The investigating agency has submitted evidences, including WhatsApp messages exchanged between Sivasankar and other accused, in a sealed cover to the court.

M Sivasnkar, former principal secretary of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, has been remanded to judicial custody till November 26 in connection with the gold smuggling and Life Mission kickbacks cases being investigated by the trail court on Thursday, November 12.

The court has posted his bail application of for orders on November 17 by a trial court. Sivasankar, who had undergone a Covid-19 test in the morning, has been sent to Ernakulam district jail at Kakkanad following the judicial remand.

Additional Solicitor General of India, S V Raju, who appeared for the ED, submitted that the money found in the bank lockers of Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the gold smuggling case, was the kickbacks meant for Sivasankar in the Life Mission project being implemented at Vadakkancherry in Thrissur district with the financial assistance of Red Crescent of UAE.

The solicitor general said the agency initially thought that the money was proceeds of the crime of gold smuggling through diplomatic channel. The agency said it arrived at such a conclusion after being misled by the accused.

However, investigations revealed that the money was part of the commission for the LIFE Mission housing project meant for Sivasankar. The agency submitted evidences, including WhatsApp messages exchanged between Sivasankar and other accused, in a sealed cover to the court.

Appearing for the accused, senior lawyer B. Raman Pillai and S. Rajeev argued that there was nothing on record to prove the allegations against Sivasankar. There were only vague and imaginary allegations against the accused and the investigation agency was moving ahead with some intentions to target someone in the case.

During the day-long argument, Kauser Edappagath, the Principal District and Sessions Judge considering the case, raised questions about the authority of the ED in investigating the Life Mission kickback case. The court observed that the alleged kickbacks in the housing project will not come under the money laundering case registered by the ED.

Meanwhile, State Law Minister A K Balan alleged serious lapse in the leaking of the statements given by the accused in the media. He told reporters at Palakkad that this was against the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court.

He termed this as evidence to the pressure being mounted by the opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front and the BJP on the investigating agencies.

Image Credit: Manorama News

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