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Customs Quiz Kerala CM’s Former Principal Secretary for 9 Hours in Gold Smuggling Case; 3 More Held

File photo of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan.

File photo of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan.

The marathon questioning went on till around 2.15 am Wednesday morning after which the official was escorted back to his home by customs authorities.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated: July 15, 2020, 10:17 AM IST
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Senior IAS officer M Sivasankar, sacked principal secretary of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, was questioned by Customs officers for nearly nine hours, till early Wednesday morning in the gold smuggling case.

The bureaucrat had appeared before the officials by around 5.15 pm on Tuesday shortly after being served notice summoning him to appear before the officers in connection with the ongoing investigation in the sensational case.

The marathon questioning went on till around 2.15 am Wednesday morning after which the official was escorted back to his home by customs authorities.

Meanwhile, Customs officials in Kochi arrested three more persons- Jalal from Muvattupuzha in Ernakulam, Mohd Shafi from Malappuram, Hamjad Ali from Kondotty, news agency ANI reported. They'll be produced in the Economic Offences Court today. Customs officials said that the three persons had delivered gold to the traders.

The Customs is probing whether Sivasankar, who was also removed as IT secretary and had used his office to provide any help to key accused-- Sarith, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair.

Sivasankar is presently on a year's leave.

The Chief Minister had told the media on Tuesday that a panel headed by Chief Secretary Dr Vishwas Mehta was probing the charges against the bureaucrat and action would be taken if he was found guilty.

The government had removed Sivasankar as Principal Secretary to the CM and also IT Secretary after allegations surfaced that he had links with the woman accused in the case related to the attempt to smuggle gold through diplomatic baggage using the name of a person in the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.

The Customs seized the gold, weighing over 30 kg and valued at around Rs 15 crore on July 5.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which has been entrusted with the probe into the case has booked four accused-- Sarith, Swapna Suresh, Sandeep Nair and Fasil Fareed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

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