Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s Additional Private Secretary CM Raveendran on Thursday finally appeared for questioning before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the gold smuggling case. It is after three ED summons that Raveendran, who was hospitalised multiple times, has now appeared before the investigation agency. Raveendran, who was summoned reportedly following statements given by suspended IAS officer M Sivasankar, is the second person in the Kerala CM’s office to come under the scanner of investigation agencies probing the gold smuggling case.
Raveendran appeared in the ED’s Kochi office on Thursday morning. He had earlier approached the Kerala High Court with a plea that the ED should be restrained from detaining him beyond a reasonable time during questioning. However, on Wednesday, the single bench of the High Court consisting of Justice VG Arun reserved the orders on the plea. The HC said that an order will be made after hearing the investigation agency too.
The ED is probing the money laundering angle of the controversial gold smuggling case. The agency has arraigned former Chief Secretary to the CM, M Sivasankar IAS, as the fifth accused in the case.
It was on November 6 that the ED initially issued summons asking Raveendran to appear for interrogation, but as he reportedly had COVID-19, he could not be present for questioning. Following this, the agency again issued summons asking to appear before it on November 27. But Raveendran was hospitalised reportedly due to a health ailment. For a third time, the ED issued summons asking him to appear on December 10, but Raveendran who had been discharged from hospital got admitted again. The opposition parties in the state had alleged that he keeps getting hospitalised to evade questioning.
Watch video of Raveendran in ED office
It was following this that Raveendran moved the Kerala HC last Tuesday with a plea to restrain the ED from detaining him for a long time as he is not fit.
Meanwhile, CM Pinarayi Vijayan had earlier expressed support for Raveendran saying that the party trusts him.