The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday arrested suspended Indian Administrative Service officer and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s former Principal Secretary M Sivasankar in the gold smuggling case, ANI reported.
He was produced before the Ernakulam Principal Sessions Court on Thursday morning, which sent him to the ED’s custody for seven days, PTI reported.
On Wednesday, the agency had taken Sivasankar into custody from a hospital in Thiruvananthapuram for questioning. This happened after the Kerala High Court rejected his anticipatory bail petition.
Sivasankar had said in his bail petition that investigation agencies had not produced any incriminating material against him, NDTV reported. He also expressed concern that the agencies may act under pressure, since there were constant demands for his arrest.
His bail was opposed by the Enforcement Directorate and the Customs. They argued that the suspended officer was aware of the smuggling activities of key accused Swapna Suresh, according to Hindustan Times.
The Customs Department also alleged that Sivasankar had faked illness to avoid questioning in the case and got admitted to a hospital where his wife worked, according to NDTV.
The National Investigation Agency, which is also conducting an inquiry into the Kerala gold smuggling case, had told a special court in Kochi earlier this month that it suspects two of the accused have links with Pakistan-based gangster Dawood Ibrahim’s gang. The central agency made the submission while strongly opposing the bail applications of all the seven accused in the case.
Suresh and another accused named Sandeep Nair were detained by the National Investigation Agency on July 11.
On July 22, the Enforcement Directorate filed a money laundering complaint in the case.
On July 5, gold weighing 30 kg concealed in imported plumbing material was seized by the Customs officials upon inspection of an air cargo consignment addressed to the Consular General of the United Arab Emirates in Thiruvananthapuram district. Officials valued the gold at Rs 15 crore. Officials found that former employees of the consulate – Suresh and Nair – were involved in the gold smuggling.
The customs department arrested Nair on the same day for allegedly facilitating the smuggling of the gold in diplomatic baggage from Thiruvananthapuram to Dubai.