Irregularities in Kerala's LIFE Mission project: M Sivasankar named as accused by Vigilance

Gold smuggling case accused Swapna Suresh, Sarith and Sandeep Nair have also been named accused in the case.
M Sivasankar IAS
M Sivasankar IAS
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M Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, has now been named an accused in a case concerning irregularities in the government's LIFE Mission project to build homes for the poor, by the Vigilance Department. Three of the accused in the controversial gold smuggling case — Swapna Suresh, Sarith and Sandeep Nair — have also been named as accused in the case, which came up before a special court of Thiruvananthapuram Vigilance on Monday.

Sivasankar, who is in the custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case connected to gold smuggling, has been named as the fifth accused in the Vigilance Department case. Swapna, Sarith and Sandeep have been named the sixth, seventh and eighth accused respectively. Unitac Builders, which was funding the building of an apartment complex in Wadakkanchery, Thrissur as part of the government's LIFE Mission project, has been named as the first accused.

The case has been filed on the basis of statements made by several people including LIFE Mission Chief Executive Officer UV Jose. He and an engineer who was involved in the Wadakkanchery project gave statements that Sivasankar had asked to provide all assistance to Unitac. Sivasankar received a costly phone as a 'bribe', the ED had claimed. The Vigilance Department is also concerned about the role he played in preparing the documents that brought about the irregularities in the project. It is in this light that he has been named an accused.

Others were named as accused after obtaining proof of their role with commissions. Earlier, Unitec, Saint Ventures, some officials in LIFE Mission project and other individuals were named as accused in the case.

Sivasankar has been removed from two posts he held in the government – as Principal Secretary to the CM as well as IT Secretary — once his name cropped up in connection with the gold smuggling case in July. He has since been suspended following enquiry reports and has then been questioned several times by the three agencies probing the smuggling case – ED, National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Customs Department. He was arrested in the last week of October after the High Court rejected his anticipatory bail.

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