Kerala

Customs to arrest Sivasankar today

M. Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.  

The Customs will formally record the arrest of M. Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, in the diplomatic channel gold smuggling case.

Mr. Sivasankar, who is in the custody of the Enforcement Directorate following a case booked under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, is housed at the district prison at Kakkanad at present.

On Tuesday, Customs officials will reach the jail to formally record the arrest.

They will produce the remand report and other details at the Economic Offences Court, Ernakulam, which is trying the gold smuggling case.

On Monday, the agency secured permission from the Principal District and Sessions Judge to arrest Mr. Sivasankar.

Officials submitted that they had obtained “direct incriminating material” against Mr. Sivasankar in the gold smuggling case after interrogating Swapna Suresh on November 18 at the Vanitha Jail, Attakulangara.

Custodial interrogation

The agency submitted that it had become necessary to subject him to custodial interrogation after arresting him.

The arrest and custodial interrogation were highly necessary for the smooth progress of the investigation.

The agency has categorised him as suspected accused and noted that it was yet to determine the actual involvement of Mr. Sivasankar in the gold smuggling case.

Considering the application of the Customs, Principal Sessions Judge Kauser Edappagath permitted the arrest of Mr. Sivasankar.

Custody extension

In another development, the Customs sought the extension of the custody of Swapna and P.S. Sarith, the other accused in the gold smuggling case, for the probe in the dollar smuggling case.

In its application submitted before C. Deepu, the judge of the Economic Offences Court, the agency wanted the two accused in its custody for seven more days for carrying out a detailed investigation to “identify the key persons involved in the smuggling of huge quantities of foreign currency out of India, which is a grave threat to the economic and national security.”

ED response sought

Meanwhile, the Kerala High Court on Monday sought the response of the Centre and the Enforcement Directorate on the bail plea of Mr. Sivasankar, in a money laundering case registered in connection with the gold smuggling case.

According to his petition, there was no independent material collected by the ED to substantiate the allegations against him. The ED produced selected WhatsApp messages before the special court to mislead it and implicate him in the case.

The court posted the petition on December 2 for further hearing.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 6:51:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/customs-to-arrest-sivasankar-today/article33164065.ece

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