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Kerala gold smuggling: Sivasankar had asked officers to clear diplomatic baggage, ED tells court

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Kochi (Kerala) | October 29, 2020 7:42:39 PM IST
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) submitted before a principal sessions court in Kochi on Thursday that M Sivasankar, former principal secretary of Kerala Chief Minister's Office, had asked officials to clear some diplomatic baggage without checking by the Customs authorities.

The ED had made the submission before the court during the hearing on the custody of Sivasankar, who was arrested by the economic offences watchdog in a money laundering case related to the Kerala gold smuggling case.

The court had, after hearing submissions in the matter, send Sivasankar to seven days in the custody of the ED for questioning in the matter.

"Sivasankar had also spoken/sent message to some officer in April 2019 for the clearance of some diplomatic baggage which was to be examined by the Customs authorities," the counsel appearing for the ED told the court.

Earlier, the Kerala High Court had refused to grant anticipatory bail to Sivasankar in connection with the cases related to the gold smuggling being probed by the ED and the Customs.

The ED submitted that Sivasankar had intervened after "desperate request" of Swapna Suresh. It said while Sivasankar has denied this, the ED is in possession of Whatsapp messages exchanged between the two, which indicates that Sivasankar had intervened.

"It is revealed that the accused Sarith PS, Swapna, Fasil Fareed and Sandeep Nair had conspired to sent two dummy diplomatic baggage in the month of July 2019, which is just two months after the intervention by Sivasankar for the clearance of diplomatic baggage in April 2019, which could also be a dummy diplomatic baggage or could be containing smuggled gold, which got cleared un-examined," the ED submitted.

After the hearing, Sivasankar's counsel advocate S Rajeev told reporters that the court has directed that if he is being questioned for three hours, he should be given one hour rest.

"The court also directed to give the necessary medical treatment. He will be produced next on November 5. The court accepted that he was dragged out of the hospital. It is not correct to say that he is not cooperating with the investigation," Rajeev said.

"He has cooperated with the investigation. Sometimes they do not get the answer they need. The court has said that the necessary facilities should be provided during the custody period. If he wants to go to the hospital after 6 pm, they have to do it. Permission has been granted for family members to visit," he added.

Notably, All India Forward Bloc workers protested in the court premises when Sivasankar was brought outside the courtroom by ED officials after the hearing. The workers of All India Forward Bloc also raised black flags against Sivasankar. (ANI)

 
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