The Enforcement Directorate, probing the money laundering angle in the controversial Kerala gold smuggling case, has again issued summons to CM Raveendran, the Additional Private Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The ED has asked Raveendran to appear before its Kochi office on Friday (November 27). Reportedly, Raveendran has been summoned following statements by two of the accused in the case — suspended IAS officer and former Principal Secretary of Kerala CM M Sivasankar, and key accused Swapna Suresh.
Raveendran was summoned by the ED earlier this month as well. But as he tested positive for coronavirus, he could not appear before the investigation agency. According to reports, Swapna has given a statement to ED that Raveendran had in the past allegedly contacted her for visa stamping and attestation of certificates. Swapna, who accused of smuggling gold through diplomatic consignments, is a former employee of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram. Reportedly, Raveendran is also being called to ask about his role in certain IT projects of the state government.
Suspended IAS officer M Sivasankar was also the former Secretary of the IT Department. It had earlier surfaced that Sivasankar had allegedly shared confidential information regarding certain state government projects to Swapna Suresh.
Earlier this month, when Raveendran was initially summoned, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had extended support to the secretary stating that the party trusts him and that the CM has known him for the past many years.
He is the second person in the Chief Minister’s Office who has now come under the scanner of investigation agencies probing the gold smuggling case. Raveendran was on the personal staff of Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, the present CPI(M) chief, from 2006 to 2011, when he was the Home Minister in VS Achuthanandan government.
It was in June this year that 30 kg gold was seized from diplomatic baggage which addressed to a UAE Consulate official in Trivandrum airport. After this, it surfaced that gold had been allegedly smuggled in a similar fashion multiple times in the past year.
(With inputs from IANS)
Watch video of the smuggled gold