M Sivasankar
M Sivasankar|File photo
National

Kerala CM's former secretary questioned by ED for 5 hours

IANS

Kochi, August 15, 2020

M. Sivasankar, the former principal secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for five hours on Saturday in connection with the recent gold smuggling case before being let off at 9 p.m.

After expressing his inability to appear before the ED officials earlier in the day, Sivasankar changed his mind and presented himself before the officials at the ED office here at around 4 p.m.

This is the second time that the ED officials have questioned Sivasankar, who once used to be the most powerful official in the state by virtue of the post he held.

After questioning him alone, a joint questioning was done along with the three other people arrested in the gold smuggling case.

The gold smuggling case was unearthed when P. S. Sarith, a former employee of the UAE Consulate here, was arrested by the Customs department on July 5 when he was facilitating the smuggling of 30 kg gold in a diplomatic baggage to Thiruvananthapuram from Dubai.

The case turned murkier when the name of Swapna Suresh, a former employee of the Consulate, and employed with the IT Department, surfaced and more so, when her links with Sivasankar, who held the dual posts of Principal Secretary to Vijayan and state IT Secretary, came out.

The IAS officer was subsequently removed from both the posts before being suspended by Vijayan.

At present, the ED has the custody of Sarith, Swapna and another accused Sandip. Their custodial period ends on Monday and hence the ED was determined to question Sivasankar.

The ED has found that Swapna possessed a huge amount of unaccounted cash and jewellery. They also informed the Economic Offences Court here that she wielded considerable influence in the Chief Minister's Office.

In the past, Sivasankar was questioned by the National Investigation Agency for three days and also by the Customs.

IANS

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