Gold smuggling case: ED arrests ex-top aide of Kerala CM

V Sajeev Kumar / Vinson Kurian | Updated on October 29, 2020

M Sivasankar, senior IAS officer and ousted Principal Secretary to the Kerala Chief Minister

Points to PMLA offences by M Sivasankar

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), late on Wednesday night, recorded the arrest of M Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, under Sections 16, 17, and 18 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act as part of an investigation into the case of smuggling of gold through diplomatic channel.

Offences under these sections are scheduled offences under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). It has been revealed that proceeds of crime have been generated, and hence, investigation conducted for possible money laundering, the ED said in its arrest report.

Also read: Gold smuggling case: ED detains Sivasankar, ex-top aide of Kerala CM

Indulgence in criminal activities

Investigations under PMLA have so far revealed that the accused persons in the gold smuggling case have indulged in criminal activities and committed scheduled offences, and they have been possessing/ concealing/ using such proceeds of crime, against which evidence has been collected.

WhatsApp chats analysis suggest that Sivasankar, in his official capacity, might have called the Customs for clearance of other diplomatic cargo as well, including the ones containing smuggled gold, ‘because nobody could tell what was inside such baggage once cleared unexamined’.

At least 21 consignments were sent between 2019 and 2020 and Sivasankar’s involvement had helped in the commission of the offence. This shows clearly that he knowingly assisted in the process connected with the proceeds of crime and committed the crime of money laundering.

High Court rejects anticipatory bail

Even the High Court of Kerala, while rejecting Sivasankar’s plea for anticipatory bail, had said that it ‘is clear that the applicant was very close to Swapna Suresh, prime accused in the crime’, the ED arrest report said.

“Sivasankar is a person of high influence and his custodial interrogation is necessary to further interrogate the generation of proceeds of crime, their subsequent utilisation and concealment. The High Court too, had said that it was not inclined to restrain him from being arrested.”

Also read: Kerala gold smuggling case: Ex-CM aide Sivasankar takes ill with Customs hot on trail

‘Guilty of money laundering’

The ED has collected substantial material to show the facts narrated in the case, and it is only after the custodial interrogation that the investigation would be complete and the truth unravelled. The ED has therefore, reasons to believe that Sivasankar is guilty of the offence of money laundering.

The ED said that such evidence ‘clearly shows Sivasankar’s active involvement in the crimes committed by Swapna Suresh’. This amounts to misuse of public office and interference in the working of other government department/s.

Published on October 29, 2020

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