Kerala HC stops ED, Customs from arresting Sivasankar till 28 October in gold smuggling case


M. Sivasankar outside the National Investigation Agency office after being questioned in the Kerala gold smuggling case, in Kochi, on July 29


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Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Friday restrained the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Customs, probing the two separate cases in connection with the gold smuggling case, from arresting M Sivasankar, suspended IAS officer and former principal secretary to the Chief Minister, till October 28.

The Court gave the directive while considering together the anticipatory bail pleas filed by Sivasankar apprehending arrest by Customs probing the gold smuggling and ED investigating the money trail in the case.

The court adjourned the case for October 28 for orders after completing the arguments in both the pleas.

Earlier, the court had restrained the ED and Customs from arresting Sivasankar till today.

Strongly opposing the anticipatory bail plea, the ED on Friday submitted that the custodial interrogation of the officer was required as he was not cooperating with the investigation.

The agency said the role of Sivasankar in the gold smuggling case was still being probed and granting him anticipatory bail will adversely affect the investigation.

Earlier, in a written statement the ED has submitted that Sivasankar appears to be connected with the serious economic offence allegedly committed by prime accused Swapna Suresh.

In its submission, the ED has alleged that the officer was “very close” to Suresh, a former UAE consulate employee, and would be sending WhatsApp messages to her throughout the day.

According to the ED, the chats show that Suresh discussed everything with him and as such, it is highly unlikely that he was not aware of the money she was making through gold smuggling and also by way of commission kickbacks in the consulate contracts.

The Customs also opposed anticipatory bail, alleging that Sivasankar was not providing clear answers to important questions in connection with the case.

Refuting the charges against him, Sivasankar submitted that he was being hounded by the agencies in the name of investigation in the case.

He submitted he was not holding any influential position in the government at present and claimed that he even was not getting a hotel room due to the case.

Seeking anticipatory bail, Sivasankar said he has complied with all the directions till now and there is no scope for him absconding also.


Also read: BJP demands resignation of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan over gold smuggling case


 

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