Kerala gold smuggling case: Suspended IAS officer Sivasankar appears before NIA

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This is the third time Sivasankar, a most powerful IAS officer in the LDF government, being questioned. He was also questioned by Customs and Enforcement Directorate earlier. 

M. Sivasankar, the former principal secretary of Kerala chief minister, Pinarayi Viajayan, is being questioned for the third time by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday, September 24 in connection with the sensational gold smuggling case.

The IAS officer, who is now under suspension, is being questioned in the presence of one of the key accused Swapana Suresh, based on digital evidences retrieved from her devices. According to reports, the NIA has collated some 2,000GB data from Swapna's multiple phones and laptops last week.

Sivasanakar, one of the most powerful IAS officers in the Left Democratic Front government, was suspended as soon as his name figured in connection with the investigation into the seizure of 30 kg of gold smuggled through the diplomatic channel of the United Arab Emirates Mission in the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram.

The government had recently extended the suspension of Sivasankar for four more months. The decision was taken as per the recommendation of a committee under the chief secretary.

The gold smuggling case surfaced in July when P.S. Sarith, a former employee of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, was arrested by the Customs when he was allegedly facilitating the gold smuggling in diplomatic baggage from Dubai.

The NIA, which has been entrusted with the probe into the case, has booked several people including Swapna, Sarith P S, Sandeep Nair and Faizal Fareed-- under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The case is also being probed by the Customs and Enforcement Directorate.

The issue attained political colours when the name of Swapna Suresh—a former employee of the Consulate, but since employed with the Kerala IT Department—surfaced. Sivasankar has been maintaining that he only had “personal” relationship with Swapna and had denied any clue about the criminal activities of those accused in the gold smuggling case.

Though the NIA and Customs let him go, they did not give any clean chit to the officer.

Image Credit: Onmanorama

 

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