The Ernakulam Principal Sessions Court on Tuesday denied bail to IAS officer M Sivasankar, the former principal secretary to Kerala Chief Minister, in the gold smuggling case. He is currently in the custody of Enforcement Directorate for the case registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in connection with the gold smuggling case. As per the reports, the counsel for ED opposed Sivasankar's bail plea, arguing that Sivasankar was closely linked to smuggling gold into the country and was the mastermind in the crime.
According to the ED, Swapna Suresh, the key accused in the case, had given her statement, saying that Sivasankar was involved in the gold smuggling. The agency also claimed that they have clear evidence to prove his involvement. On November 16, Sivasankar's advocate had told the court that ED is forcing him to name prominent leaders of political parties in connection with the smuggling case, where gold was smuggled in a diplomatic cargo. In the affidavit filed by Sivasankarâ€™s counsel, he said that the WhatsApp chats produced by the ED were lies, intended to mislead the court.
However, ED denied the allegation and had requested the court to reject the argument. TA Unnikrishnan, the counsel representing the ED, argued that Sivasankar knew about gold smuggling and that he was a beneficiary in the funds received for the Kerala governmentâ€™s Life Mission housing project for the poor. The ED also alleged that the WhatsApp chats between Swapna Suresh and Sivasankar prove that the bureaucrat was sharing information over the bidders in Life Mission and Kerala Fibre Optic Network projects to the former.
The counsel argued that Sivasankar's allegation that ED pressured him to name political leaders was with wrong intentions.
The ED also said that they are looking into the funds received by Sivasankar in other projects like Smart City Kochi and Taurus Downtown, Rs 1500 crore mega IT project in the state.
Sivasankar will be remanded until November 26 in Kakkanad sub-jail.
Meanwhile, the Customs on Monday afternoon questioned Sivasankar in connection with the gold smuggling case. Customs had earlier sought permission from the Principal Sessions Court to take his statement.