Hours after senior IAS officer M Sivasankar was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the controversial gold smuggling case, the ED has said that he had contacted Customs officials of Trivandrum International Airport to clear the diplomatic consignment for Swapna Suresh, a key accused. The ED has aired Sivasankarâs statement in its arrest order on Wednesday.
This statement that Sivasankar apparently gave to ED on October 15 was one of the significant reasons behind his arrest.
â..Sivasankar accepted to have spoken to a senior Customs officer and made the request as per the wishes of Ms.Swapna Suresh.This clearly shows your active involvement in the offences committed by Swapna,â ED said in the arrest order. It also added that this action of Sivasankar amounts to âmisuse of the public office and interference in the official working of other government departmentsâ.
ED also alleged that Sivasankarâs WhatsApp chat show that he might have called officials for the clearance of other diplomatic cargo, which might contain the ones were gold was smuggled.
Read: Kerala gold smuggling: Sivasankar IAS named 5th accused, sent to 7-day ED custody
âIt has been found that 21 consignments were sent between 2019 and 2020 and your (Sivasankarâs) involvement has helped in the commission of the offence,â it stated. ED has inferred that this clearly shows Sivasankar knowingly assisted the âprocess of activityâ connected with proceeds of the crime and therefore he has committed the offence of money laundering. Sivasankar has been booked under section 3 (Offence of money-laundering) of Prevention of Money-Laundering Act.
Notably, when the gold smuggling case surfaced on July 5, allegations were made by the Opposition parties that the Chief Ministerâs Office had contacted Customs in the airport for the accused persons.
Meanwhile, in the arrest order the Enforcement Directorate it is alleged that Sivasankar has âan interest in the finances of Swapna Sureshâ, which includes the alleged proceeds of the crime that NIA seized from her bank locker. ED alleged that the proceeds of gold smuggling could also have gone to Sivasankar and that only further interrogation can reveal the truth.
On Thursday morning, Sivasankar was presented to the Principal Sessions Court in Ernakulam. He has reportedly told the court that he is being harrassed in custody.
Read: Gold Smuggling case: Enforcement Directorate arrests IAS officer M Sivasankar
Watch video: Sivasankar taken to court after being arrested