Suspended IAS officer M Sivasankar was arrested by the central agency in connection with the gold smuggling case of Kerala.

Sivasankar in a blue t shirt has a mask on his face and his hands folded sitting inside a vehicle with other men
news Gold smuggling Tuesday, December 01, 2020 - 19:08

On Tuesday, a court in Kochi granted seven days of additional custody of suspended IAS officer M Sivasankar to the Customs department. Sivasankar was arrested by the central agency in connection with the gold smuggling case of Kerala. The Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Economic Offences) court considered the Customs plea, a day after Sivasankar's five day custody ended.

In its plea, the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate claimed that Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the smuggling case, had made revelations during her custodial interrogation, implicating Sivasankar in a currency smuggling case with strong links in the gold smuggling case.

The agency had also submitted before the court a copy of the statement made by Swapna before the Investigating Officer under Section 108 of Customs Act on November 27.

The Customs made the claim as the five-day custody of Sivasankar granted by the court ended on Monday. The court had posted for Tuesday, the application seeking extension of custody of Sivasankar.

The agency also said in its application that more investigation was required on two mobile phones used by Sivasankar.

It said that during the course of the custodial interrogation of Sivasankar, he had stated under Section 108 of the Customs Act, that he was using only one mobile phone, which he had declared before investigating agencies.

But their probe revealed that he was using two more mobile phones, which he did not divulge before the agencies, the Customs said.

Of these two phones, one number was identified and retrieved by the investigating team on November 29 and was being analysed, the petition said. Efforts are on to identify and recover the second mobile, the agency said.

The Customs department said it was necessary to locate the second device and also to corroborate / confront evidence that may be recovered from both the devices.

The agency had on November 24 arrested Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary to the Kerala Chief Minister, in connection with the gold smuggling case.

The Customs said it has arrested around 15 people, including Swapna Suresh, Sarith PS and Sandeep Nair, over the seizure of 30 kg gold from a diplomatic baggage of the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), the ED and the Customs are conducting separate investigations into the racket that was busted with the seizure of gold.

Read: ED pressurised me to name political targets: Sivasankar IAS alleges

The IAS officer was suspended after his links to Suresh, a former employee of the consulate, had surfaced.

Also read: â€˜Why no evidence against Sivasankar so far?’: Court asks Customs in gold smuggling case

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