Kerala HC bars Customs from arresting former CM’s aide Sivasnakar in gold smuggling case

South India

Sivasankar, who was admitted to Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital, with disk problem has been discharged on the advice of a medical board.

In a minor relief to Principal Secretary to Kerala Chief Minister, M Sivasankar, the high court has on Monday, October 19, prevented the Customs Department from arresting him in the infamous gold smuggling case till October 23.

The court passed the interim order on a petition filed by the senior IAS officer for anticipatory bail. The curt had earlier prevented his arrest in a related case being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate. The court has posted the petition for joint hearing on next Friday.

Justice Ashok Menon, who heard the plea, also directed the Customs to file a counter affidavit in this case before October 23.

Senior Advocate P Vijayabhanu, who appeared for the former Principal Secretary, submitted that he is willing to appear before any investigating authority and has also done so in the past. He pointed out that the travel from Thiruvanathapuram to Kochi for the questioning had taken a toll on his client’s health.

The counsel said that Sivasankar, who was admitted to Thiruvananthapuram Medical College, with disk problem was being treated like a common criminal. He said that the IAS officer was a pawn in the political game going on in the case.

Counsel who appeared for the Customs, opposed this plea and sought time to get instructions in the matter. "He (Sivasankar) is playing politics, he is now contradicting Chief Minister's statement, as stated by him," the Counsel said.

Sivasankar, had today moved a petition seeking anticipatory bail in the case registered by the Customs in relation to the gold smuggling case.

Meanwhile, Sivsankar has been discharged from the hospital. The discharge was given on the basis of the opinion of a medical board which opined that he did not need any in-patient treatment for his current condition.

The case, which is currently being probed by the ED, National Investigation Agency 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.

Image Credit: The News Minute



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