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Gold Scam: Ahead of ED Questioning, Kerala CM's Close Aide Hospitalised Following Breathing Difficulties

Representative Image. (Reuters)

Representative Image. (Reuters)

Last month, a day after he was served the first notice by the central agency, he had tested Coronavirus positive. After his isolation period ended, a second notice was issued to him on November 25, but he was hospitalised within hours after he complained of breathing problems

For the second time in succession and overall the third time, C M Ravindran, the closest aide of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who also holds the post of assistant private secretary in Vijayan's office, was admitted to the Medical College hospital here on Tuesday.

His admission to the hospital comes two days before he was to have appeared before the Enforcement Directorate.

Last month, a day after he was served the first notice by the central agency, he had tested Coronavirus positive. After his isolation period ended, a second notice was issued to him on November 25, but he was hospitalised within hours after he complained of breathing problems.

The third notice then came and he was asked to appear for questioning in the gold smuggling case on December 10. It is unlikely if he will now appear on Thursday.

The first notice was served in early November after the gold smuggling case prime accused Swapna Suresh's alleged links with Ravindran surfaced.

Ravindran is a CPI-M nominee and is posted in Vijayan's office and even Vijayan has acknowledged that Ravindran is known to him for the past several years.

He was reportedly posted in the CMO by bypassing rules with regard to educational qualification and age.

A native of Kozhikode district, Ravindran has been a vital cog between the party and the top leaders of the Communist Party of India-Marxist and was on the personal staff of Kodiyeri Balakrishnan in 2006-11, when he was the Home Minister in the V.S. Achuthanandan government.

When Vijayan took over as Chief Minister in 2016, Ravindran wielded major clout and his alleged closeness with since-arrested senior IAS officer M Sivasankar was often talked about.

Incidentally soon after Ravindran failed to appear before the ED, the agency started probe into Ravindran's various business ventures, based on a few complaints which it had received.

The ED officials went around two dozen business establishments of various sizes in Kozhikode and Kannur district and are understood to have got certain clues. After he failed to appear the second time, the ED asked the State Registration department to submit a list of properties owned by Ravindran.

The CPI-M which is miffed in the way the ED and other national probe agencies are pursuing the gold smuggling case does not want anything untoward to happen as the second and third phase of the local body polls to take place on December 10th and 14th.