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M Sivasankar, Secy to CM Vijayan, Removed from Post Over Gold Smuggling Controversy

File photo of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan.

File photo of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan.

M Sivasankar was shunted out after opposition parties in the state stepped up pressure following the seizure of 30 kg of gold from a diplomatic consignment to UAE Consulate on Sunday.

Thiruvananthapuram: M Sivasankar, Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, was removed from the post on Tuesday over gold smuggling controversy, where the role of a former woman employee of the IT department is being probed.

In a brief statement, the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said Sivasankar has been removed and replaced by Mir Mohammed, another IAS officer, who will hold additional charge. However, Sivasankar is likely to continue as IT Secretary. The chief minister holds the IT portfolio.

M Sivasankar was shunted out after opposition parties in the state stepped up pressure following the seizure of 30 kg of gold from a diplomatic consignment to UAE Consulate on Sunday.

The allegations levelled by opposition UDF and BJP were regarding the alleged link between M Sivasankar and Swapna Suresh, who is on the run after the gold seizure at the Trivandrum International Airport.

The CM on Monday evening had clarified that Swapna Suresh was appointed as the operational manager at Kerala State IT Infrastructure Ltd (KSITL) "without his knowledge". The CM said that his office was "not a den that will accommodate such people with tainted background".

The customs department had seized the gold from an air cargo consignment from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to its consulate in the Thiruvananthapuram.

first published:July 07, 2020, 14:54 IST