Kerala Gold smuggling case: HC to decide on Sivasankar's anticipatory bail pleas today

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The matter had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crores smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage was busted by the Customs in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5.

 

The Kerala High Court is expected to decide on the two anticipatory bail petitions of M Sivasankar, who was a former Principal Secretary to Kerala chief minister, on Friday.

Sivasankar was suspended after his links with prime accused in the case Swapna Suresh surfaced. 

The petitions seek anticipatory bail from being arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Customs in connection with cases related to the diplomatic baggage gold smuggling via Thiruvananthapuram airport.

In his plea seeking anticipatory bail, Sivasankar had said he was totally xhausted due to the constant and continued travel from Thiruvananthapuram to Kochi to appear for questioning.

On Thursday, a special NIA court in Kochi had disposed of an anticipatory bail plea filed by M Sivasankar.

The court disposed of the anticipatory bail plea after it was informed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that Sivasankar is not an accused as of now and the arrest is not under consideration. 

"So the application is premature," the NIA had submitted.

On October 15, the Kerala high court had ordered Enforcement Directorate not to arrest M Sivasankar, till October 23, in connection with the gold smuggling case.

The counsel appearing for Sivasankar had submitted before the court that the applicant is willing to appear before the agency and cooperate with the investigation in the case registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the alleged smuggling of gold through diplomatic channels.

Earlier, Sivasankar was questioned by the National Investigation Agency and the Customs department for about a total of 90 hours. 

The Customs department had recently filed its response on the anticipatory bail plea in the matter and submitted that Sivasankar had faked illness to get admitted to a hospital.

Sivasankar, who was hospitalised after he complained of uneasiness while he was summoned for questioning by the Customs, was discharged from the hospital on Monday.

The Customs Department had submitted that the anticipatory bail plea is not maintainable in law particularly under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which deals with the direction for grant of bail to a person apprehending arrest.

The case, which is currently being probed by the ED, NIA and the Customs department, pertains to the smuggling of gold in the state through diplomatic channels.

The matter had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crores smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage was busted by the Customs in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5.
 

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