On Friday, suspended IAS officer M Sivasankar appeared before the Customs Department for the third time in regard to their investigation into the controversial gold smuggling case in Kerala. The Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate had interrogated Sivasankar twice earlier after his alleged links with Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the case, surfaced.
Central agencies, including the National Investigation Agency, the Customs Department and the Enforcement Directorate, are conducting separate inquiries into the seizure of 30 kg of gold smuggled through diplomatic baggage at the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport on July 5.
Several people, including Swapna Suresh and Sarith P S, two former employees of the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, have been arrested by the central agencies in connection with the case.
This development comes a few days after the Enforcement Directorate, which is conducting a parallel investigation into the case, told the court that a thorough investigation should be conducted on Sivasankar. Allegedly, he helped Swapna to open a bank locker where she is suspected to have kept the proceedings from the smuggled gold.
Accused Swapna Suresh and a Thiruvananthapuram-based Chartered Accountant, who is named as a witness in the case, have given statements that Sivasankar helped opened the locker. It has also come out that Swapnaâ€™s appointment in Space Park, a project of the IT Department of the state, was allegedly facilitated by Sivasankar.
The senior Kerala IAS officer was suspended from service in July, a month after the gold smuggling case surfaced. Prior to the suspension, Sivasankar was removed from the post of Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and from the post of Secretary of the stateâ€™s IT Department.
It has been alleged that Sivasankar also had a hand in discrepancies in relation to the Life Mission project, a housing scheme for the poor, in Thrissurâ€™s Wadakkanchery. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told the Kerala High Court on Thursday that Sivasankar â€śhijackedâ€ť a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by Red Crescent-- a UAE based organisation-- and Life Mission, with the help of smugglers and with assistance from a construction company.
(With inputs from PTI)