One of the senior-most IAS officers in the state and former secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, M Shivashankar, was suspended from service pending inquiry on Thursday.
The move comes in the backdrop of his questioning by the customs department in the 30kg gold smuggling case that has created a furore in the state. Shivashnakr allegedly had close links with two of the main accused in the case -- Swapna Suresh and Sarith Kumar.
The suspension was announced by CM Pinarayi Vijayan at a press meet in Thiruvananthapuram. Sivasankar was removed as the principal secretary to the chief minister and IT secretary after reports of his alleged links with the accused in the case emerged.
A high-level panel headed by Chief Secretary Dr Vishwas Mehta had been directed by the government to look into the allegations and submit thereport in three days.
The report was submitted to the government this evening following which the action was taken. The committee had found that Sivasankar had violated All India Service Rules, Vijayan said, adding departmental level inquiry was on.
The government action comes two day after customs officials had grilled Sivasankar for nearly nine hours in connection with the case.
The opposition Congress and BJP on Wednesday had stepped up their attack on the Left front government and demanded his suspension.
(With inputs from PTI)