Gold smuggling case: Kerala HC orders ED not to arrest Sivasankar till Oct 23

KC Gopakumar Kochi | Updated on October 15, 2020 Published on October 15, 2020

The Kerala High Court on Thursday directed the Enforcement Directorate not to arrest M Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, till October 23 in a money laundering case. The case was registered by the ED in connection with the abuse of diplomatic channel to smuggle gold.

The court passed the interim directive on a petition filed by the IAS officer seeking anticipatory bail.

Additional Solicitor General of India SV Raju who appeared for the ED submitted that Sivasankar had not been implicated in the case till date. In fact, his apprehension of arrest by the ED was ill-founded. This was a serious case involving the smuggling of gold worth a huge amount and the involvement of influential people in the case could not be ruled out.

Counsel for Sivasankar submitted that the ED had sent him a notice directing him to produce a passport size photo and a copy of the Aadhar card on October 14 in person or through an authorised person, which he did. The ED had later issued him another notice warning that non-appearance before it would be treated as non-cooperation with the investigation. The Counsel alleged that the agency had unnecessarily been harassing the petitioner. The petitioner was willing to cooperate with the investigation and he did not have any intention to flee from the clutches of law.

The court also directed the ED to file a detailed affidavit in response to the anticipatory bail petition and posted the case on October 23.

In the bail petition, Sivasankar maintained that the ED had filed a charge sheet in connection with the smuggling case before a special court under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act levelling baseless allegations against him. Though the petitioner was questioned for more than 90 hours by different agencies, no incriminating material could be gathered by them to implicate him in the case.

The petitioner added that he was holding a key post in the government and he had occasion to contact the Consulate General in connection with his duties. He had struck an acquaintance with the prime accused, Swapna Suresh, while she was working as secretary to UAE Consulate General. In fact, the petitioner came to know about the involvement of Swapna and her friends in the gold smuggling case only after the consignment was seized by the Customs, he claimed.

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Published on October 15, 2020
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