Kerala gold smuggling case: Suspension of M Sivasankar revoked

Sivasankar was the former Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, and was also a former IT Secretary before he was suspended.
IAS officer M Sivasankar
IAS officer M Sivasankar
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The Kerala government on Tuesday, January 4, revoked the suspension of senior IAS officer M Sivasankar, who was arrested by Central agencies in the sensational gold smuggling case, official sources said. His suspension was revoked on the basis of a recommendation made by a committee headed by the Chief Secretary, they said.

Sivasankar, who was the former Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and former IT Secretary, was suspended from service after his links with Swapna Suresh, a prime accused in the gold smuggling case, surfaced. He was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Customs in the cases relating to the sensational gold smuggling through diplomatic channels, money trail and dollar smuggling.

The gold smuggling case pertains to the seizure of 30 kg of gold on July 5, 2020 from diplomatic baggage at the air cargo of the Trivandrum International Airport by the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate, Kochi. The consignment was found camouflaged in diplomatic baggage from the UAE that is exempted from inspection in accordance with the Vienna Convention. The dollar case relates to alleged smuggling of USD 1,90,000 (equivalent to Rs 1.30 crore) by a former finance head of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram to Muscat in Oman.

The smuggling case came to light on July 5, 2020, when the Customs department arrested Sarith, a former employee of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, for allegedly smuggling gold in a diplomatic baggage destined for the Consulate. Swapna Suresh, who previously worked in the UAE Consulate, and her associate Sandip Nair were arrested in the case by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) from Bengaluru a few days later.

Trouble started for Sivasankar after Swapna's arrest and then came out the tales of the relation with Sivasankar. In light of this, CM Vijayan suspended Sivasankar from service. In October 2020, Sivasankar was arrested and for 98 days he was in jail, after which he got bail.

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