Kerala IAS officer M Sivasankar, who is the former Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The arrest came on the day the Kerala High Court dismissed his anticipatory bail in the controversial gold smuggling case. Soon after the court rejected his petition, Sivasankar was taken into custody by the ED from an ayurveda hospital in Thiruvananthapuram where he was undergoing treatment.
Sivasankar who has been questioned by three investigation agencies multiple times, had given contradictory statements according to the ED.
The ED had told the HC that they had evidence to prove Sivasankarâ€™s involvement in the crime. The investigation agency said that Sivasankar was close to Swapna and even went on to say that she could have been his pawn in the whole case.
Sivasankar had defended himself in the court, stating that he was being harassed, as the investigation agencies are keen to take him into custody, despite him cooperating with the investigation.
When the gold smuggling case was first busted, Sivasankar was mainly accused of two things.
He was alleged to have a role in the appointment of Swapna Suresh as the Operations Manager of Space Park, a project under the IT Department, where he was the Secretary.
He was also alleged to have booked the flat in Thiruvananthapuram where the crime to smuggle gold into the country was allegedly plotted.
The Chief Minister who initially defended Sivasankar who was his Principal Secretary was then forced to place him under suspension.
In the coming weeks, more allegations were made by the various investigating agencies. One of the main points of investigation has been that the senior bureaucrat had helped Swapana open a bank locker where she could keep the proceeds of the crime. However, Sivasankar had denied this stating that he only introduced Swapna to his Chartered Accountant and did not know the source of her income.
A WhatsApp chat history of M Sivasankar, according to the agency, revealed that he had asked his accountant Venugopal to leave Kerala soon after Swapnaâ€™s arrest. The ED has been insisting that Sivasankar has been evading questions and not co-operating with them.
According to Venugopalâ€™s statement, Sivasankar had asked him to open a bank locker for Swapna Suresh. Venugopal had also told ED that Sivasankar was kept updated about the operations in the bank locker. Sivasankar, however, denied this in his statement.
Watch video: Sivasankar with ED after his arrest