Gold Smuggling Case: Sivasankar's Custody Extended by 6 More Days, ED Says Crucial Info Shared with Key Accused
File photo of suspended IAS officer M Sivasankar. (News18 Malayalam)
The ED made this allegation in an affidavit filed in a special court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases here while seeking extension of custody of Sivasankar arrested by it last week in connection with the alleged money laundering in the gold smuggling case.
- PTI Kochi
- Last Updated: November 05, 2020, 19:51 IST
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The Enforcement Directorate, probing the money trail in the Kerala gold smuggling case, on Thursday claimed that M Sivasankar, former principal secretary to the Chief Minister, had shared confidential information pertaining to government's two key projects with Swapna Suresh, key accused in the case. The ED made this allegation in an affidavit filed in a special court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases here while seeking extension of custody of Sivasankar arrested by it last week in connection with the alleged money laundering in the gold smuggling case.
The special PMLA court extended by six days the ED custody of Sivasankar as he was produced before it after the seven-day custody granted to the agency last week ended on Thursday. The ED alleged in the affidavit that the WhatsApp chats between Suresh and Sivasankar extracted from seized mobile handsets revealed that the officer was sharing confidential government information pertaining to LIFE Mission and KFON projects with her.
This was for the purpose of sharing to M/s Unitac Builders and Developers Pvt Ltd who had already admitted to having paid huge amounts of kickbacks to Suresh and others, the agency alleged in the affidavit. While LIFE Mission is the Kerala government's housing scheme for the homeless, KFON is a project to provide free internet service for the poor.
Unitac is a private firm which has been awarded the contract for construction of the houses under LIFE Mission project in Wadakkanchery Municipality in Thrissur district. On the basis of the WhatsApp chats, the ED on Wednesday conducted searches at the office and residential premises of the CMD of M/s Pennar Industries Ltd, Hyderabad and recovered material which the accused needs to be confronted with, the ED submitted in the affidavit.
Seeking extension of his custody, the ED said Sivasankar has to be questioned further on the basis of the materials already collected. "Only by a custodial interrogation, the investigation can be completed.In the interest of justice, more time is required for questioning," the agency said.
It claimed Sivasankar was not cooperating with the investigation and sought his custody for a further period of seven more days. Considering the plea, the court granted the ED custody of Sivasankar for six more days.
The court directed the agency to produce him before it on November 11. The National Investigation Agency, Customs and the ED are conducting separate investigations into the seizure of gold worth nearly Rs 15 crore from a diplomatic baggage of UAE Consulate at Thiruvananthapuram airport on July 5.
The ED has alleged that Sivasankar had intervened to clear the diplomatic baggage containing smuggled gold without examination by the Customs at the Thiruvananthapuram international airport.