Gold Smuggling: Sivasankar Says He Was Arraigned as Accused After Refusing To Name Political Targets

The court is likely to pronounce its verdict on Tuesday in the bail plea of Sivasankar, the former principal secretary to the Kerala chief minister.

Kochi: Suspended IAS officer M. Sivasankar, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate probing the money trail in the gold smuggling case, has alleged he was arraigned as an accused as he refused to name a few political targets of the agency’s choice.

According to an argument note submitted to the special court, dealing with the Prevention of Money Laundering Act case (PMLA) here, which is hearing the bail plea of Sivasankar, the IAS officer was pressured to name a few political targets of the ED’s choice, which the applicant had refused and consequently he was arraigned as an accused and arrested.

The court is likely to pronounce its verdict in the bail plea of the former principal secretary to the Kerala chief minister on Tuesday.

Sivasankar termed as “without any basis” and “trumped up” the ED’s claim that he had accepted in his statement to it on October 15 that he has spoken to a senior customs officer and made the request to clear a cargo addressed to the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram as per the wishes of Swapna Suresh, prime accused in the gold smuggling case.

“Till date, despite filing two applications for custody and one for judicial remand and one Objection filed to the bail application, the ED has not made any claim/ statement before this Court regarding the nature of communication made by the applicant or to whom the bail applicant spoke to.

Not a single averment is made in this regard in any of the filings made by ED before this court,” the note said.

He alleged that this ambiguity was purposely created and maintained by the ED so as to prevent the court from understanding the true facts.

“Thus the allegation is very vague and purposely designed to confuse and mislead the court in prejudicing the applicant,” the note said.

Sivasankar submitted that he was a close family friend of Suresh and she turned out to be involved in the crime about which he had no clue about.

He alleged that he was purposefully dragged into the controversy apparently due to the post held by him whereby he had professional proximity to the executive head (Chief Minister) of the state.

“Thus the arrest of the applicant (Sivasankar) and his arraigning as an accused in this case is borne out of his association with A-2 (Suresh) who turned out to be a prime accused in the case.Therefore the applicant is a victim of association and nothing more.

The importance attached to the post held by the applicant also made him an easy political target,” the note said.

Sivasankar also submitted that the evidence from WhatsApp chats presented by ED are only half-truths and lies designed at presenting a concocted story to mislead the court.

In an affidavit filed in the court last week, the ED had stated that Suresh has given a statement to it claiming that Sivasankar and his team in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) were aware of the smuggling of the gold through diplomatic channel.

Meanwhile, the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate, probing the case of gold smuggling through diplomatic channel, interrogated Sivasankar in a jail here.

The court had earlier granted the Customs the permission to interrogate the officer in the jail.

Sivasankar, arrested by the agency on October 28, was sent to judicial remand by the court after his 14 day custody with the ED ended last week.

The National Investigation Agency, Customs and the ED are conducting separate investigations into the seizure of gold worth nearly Rs 15 crore from a “diplomatic baggage” of UAE Consulate at Thiruvananthapuram airport on July 5.