Kerala gold smuggling case | Supreme Court seeks Sivasankar’s response to ED plea against bail

The Supreme Court on Friday sought a response from M. Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary to Kerala Chief Minister, to an appeal filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against Kerala High Court’s decision to grant him bail in the gold smuggling case.

A Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan, however, did not stay the High Court order, saying the “man is already out on bail”.

“We are not putting you [Sivasankar] inside, we are only issuing notice. There is no need for a stay [of the HC order]. He is already out,” Justice Bhushan remarked.

Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, for the ED, submitted that Mr. Sivasankar was “neck-deep” into the crime, which involves a well-crafted money-laundering network.

In response, senior advocate Jaydeep Gupta, for Mr. Sivasankar, said the case against his client was “harsh”.

“They are just going after this man. It is a harsh case,” Mr. Gupta countered.

The Supreme Court listed the case after six weeks.

In its appeal, ED said Mr. Sivasankar was influential and his release would hamper the investigation in the case. The ED is probing the money laundering angle.

Mr. Sivasankar was arrested on October 28 after his anticipatory bail petition was rejected by the Kerala High Court. His custody by the ED had been extended thrice in the past.

The case pertains to the smuggling of gold in Kerala through diplomatic channels. It had come to light after 30 kg gold worth ₹14.82 crore smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage was busted by the Customs in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5, 2019.

The ED, the National Investigative Agency and the Customs Department are all probing the case.

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 10:02:21 AM |

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