Suspended IAS officer M Sivasankar, who is presently under judicial custody in the Kerala gold smuggling case, was on Thursday arrested by the Customs Department in the dollar smuggling case that surfaced during the investigation of the former case. The arrest of Sivasankar was recorded at a jail in Kochi, where he is lodged under judicial custody since his arrest by the Customs and the Enforcement Directorate in cases related to smuggling of gold through diplomatic channels, Customs sources said.
Hours earlier, the Customs secured permission of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate's (Economic Offences) Court in Ernakulam to arrest the IAS officer in connection with the case related to alleged smuggling of $1,90,000 (equivalent to Rs 1.30 crore) by a former finance head of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram to Muscat in Oman.
Prime accused in the gold smuggling case Swapna Suresh and Sarith PS are also allegedly involved in the dollar case and had already been arrested by the Customs. The agency had in October last year booked the duo for violating the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) in the dollar smuggling case. Allegedly, the duo used their identity cards from the UAE Consulate, where they were former employees, to allegedly help former finance head of the Consulate Khalid, to smuggle the money.
Sivasankar, the former Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, was suspended after his alleged ties with key accused in the gold smuggling case surfaced.
Meanwhile, the Customs on January 8 had recorded the statement of Kerala Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan's assistant private secretary in connection with the dollar smuggling case.
After being quizzed multiple times by different agencies probing the gold smuggling case, M Sivasankar was first arrested by the Enforcement Directorate probing the money laundering angle in the case on October 28. Following this, on November 24, Customs Department made the arrest in the gold smuggling case the agency is probing. Sivasankar is not an accused in the gold smuggling case probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).