Kerala gold case accused Swapna travelled thrice with suspended IAS officer to Gulf nations during 2017-18: ED

PTI Updated - August 17, 2020 at 06:34 PM.

The ED also said Swapna Suresh kept the proceeds of the crime in a bank locker jointly operated with a third person as per the instruction of Sivasankar.

Suspended IAS officer M Sivasankar travelled thrice to the Gulf countries with Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the Kerala gold smuggling case, during 2017 and 2018, the Enforcement Directorate probing the money trails of the racket informed a court here on Monday.

The submissions were made before the special court for PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) cases, as the ED filed a petition for judicial remand of Suresh, Sarith P S and Sandeep Nair at the end of their custody with the agency.

The three were in ED custody since August 5.

Referring to the questioning of Sivasankar, former principal secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the ED said it was revealed that in April 2017 Suresh had travelled to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with him.

Again, in April 2018 the woman had travelled to Oman and met Sivasankar who was on a visit there then, and they returned together to India from the Gulf nation, it said.

“It is further revealed that during October 2018 A-2 (Suresh) and Sivasankar travelled together to UAE and returned together and this particular trip was coupled with the visit of the Chief Minister of Kerala to UAE for seeking the assistance of Indians there for flood relief in Kerala”, the ED submitted.

The court remanded the accused to judicial custody till August 26.

The ED also said Suresh kept the proceeds of the crime in a bank locker jointly operated with a third person as per the instruction of Sivasankar.

Also opposing the bail plea of the accused, the ED said an in-depth investigation into these aspects was to be conducted.

The bail application in the ED case is likely to come up for hearing on Tuesday.

Last week, the NIA special court and the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Economic Offences, here had dismissed the bail plea of the three.

The agency had questioned Sivasankar on Saturday for the second time.

It had earlier filed a written submission in the court that the officer, suspended after his links to Suresh surfaced, was fully aware that the integrity of the woman was dubious.

The agency which recorded the formal arrest of the three accused on July 22 while they were in the custody of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), had on Friday informed the court that Suresh has claimed that she had “considerable influence” in the Chief Minister’s Office.

Sivasankar had also been interrogated earlier by the NIA and the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate probing separate cases related to the gold smuggling using diplomatic channels of UAE consulate through the international airport in Thiruvananthapuram.

Published on August 17, 2020 13:03