Kerala gold smuggling: HC directs ED not to arrest ex-principal secy to Kerala CMO till Oct 23

Kochi (Kerala) [India], October 15 (ANI): The Kerala High Court on Thursday directed the Enforcement Directorate not to arrest M Sivasankar, former principal secretary to the Kerala Chief Minister’s Office till October 23 in connection with the gold smuggling case.

October 15, 2020

National

3 min

zeenews

Kochi (Kerala) [India], October 15 (ANI): The Kerala High Court on Thursday directed the Enforcement Directorate not to arrest M Sivasankar, former principal secretary to the Kerala Chief Minister’s Office till October 23 in connection with the gold smuggling case.
A single-judge bench of Justice Ashok Menon issued the interim order on the anticipatory bail plea filed by Sivasankar seeking protection from arrest in the ED case.
The counsel appearing for Sivasankar submitted before the court that the applicant is willing to appear before the agency and cooperate with the investigation in the case registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the alleged smuggling of gold through diplomatic channels.
“Sivasankar was questioned by the National Investigation Agency and the Customs department for about a total of 90 hours, and even after 100 days of investigation, the agencies have not found anything incriminatory against him. Sivasankar is a responsible officer, who was sacked from the post of Secretary to CMO due to “media pressure. He is not going to flee,” the counsel said.
The counsel appearing for the ED submitted before the bench that the agency has not been made a party in the case and added that the case was a “serious one” involving top-level officers. “To date, we have not arrested him. The apprehension (of arrest) is ill-founded”, the counsel said.
At the request of the Additional Solicitor General seeking time to file a reply in the matter, the High Court adjourned the hearing on the matter till October 23 and directed that Sivasankar shall not be arrested till then.
Sivasankar had filed the anticipatory bail application after the ED submitted a chargesheet in the case before the special PMLA court. He submitted that the central agency’s chargesheet had allegations and imputations against him, making him apprehensive of an arrest.
The case, which is currently being probed by the ED, NIA and the Customs department, pertains to the smuggling of gold in the state through diplomatic channels.
The matter had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crores smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage was busted by the Customs in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5. (ANI)

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