Kerala gold smuggling case: CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s former secretary M Sivasankar remanded in one-week ED custody

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The ED in its remand report said that he was made the fifth accused in the money laundering case related to gold smuggling

A Kochi court on Thursday remanded Kerala’s former principal secretary of IT and chief minister’s secretary M Sivasankar in Enforcement Directorate custody for a week till November 4 in connection with the gold smuggling case.

He was arrested late on Wednesday night after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) took him into custody soon after the Kerala High Court rejected his pre-arrest bail in the day.

The ED in its remand report said that he was made the fifth accused in the money laundering case related to gold smuggling. The first four accused in the case are Swapna Suresh, Sarith, Sandeep Nair and Faisal Fareed, who is now in the custody of UAE authorities. Sivasankar was aware of main accused Swapna’s smuggling activities, the agency told the court.

Sivasankar complained to the court that the ED sleuths allegedly torturing him in custody and is facing acute physical problems. The court directed the ED that the former IAS officials should not be questioned between 6 pm and 9 am. Besides this, there should not be questioned more than 3 hours at one stretch and then one-hour rest should be given to him. Sivasankar can meet his wife, brother and nephew during the custody period.

On Wednesday, Sivasankar, one of the most powerful bureaucrats in Kerala, was picked from the an Ayurveda centre, where he was undergoing treatment for his back pain. Last week, when the Customs reached his residence for interrogation, he complained chest pain and was taken to a private hospital where his wife, a medical practitioner, works. The customs had alleged that he was pretending illness to escape grilling by the agencies.

Sivasankar fell from grace after his name cropped up in the gold smuggling case involving Swapna that was detected on July 5 this year. About 30 kg gold was seized by the Customs from a package camouflaged as diplomatic consignment addressed to the UAE Consulate in Thiruvanthanpuram.

Sivasankar was first removed from all positions once his name appeared in the case and later suspended after the Opposition mounted pressure on Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Image credit: Mathrubhumi

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