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

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on October 17, 2020 Published on October 17, 2020

In a dramatic turn of events late on Friday evening, M Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, and facing inquiry in the infamous gold smuggling case, was admitted into a hospital here after he complained of uneasiness.

Sivasankar was ferried to hospital in a car belonging to the Cochin Customs, whose team inquiring into the case had driven down to Thiruvananthapuram reportedly to serve him fresh notice for interrogation, after being told that he was unable to make a personal appearance.

Takes ill on-board Customs car

The Customs team reached Sivasankar’s house in Thiruvananthapuram by 5.30 pm on Friday and handed over the notice to him. He was being taken to the Customs office in the capital city when he suddenly said he was sick and asked to be directed to a nearby private hospital.

Sivasankar was admitted to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit of the hospital where his doctor wife works, after he complained of chest pain. An initial report suggested that the doctors had diagnosed him elevated blood pressure and an erratic heart rate.

Also read: Gold smuggling case: BJP demands Kerala CM’s resignation

Likely fresh evidence

The Customs reportedly wanted to question him on suspicion of aiding accused Swapna Suresh to spirit away foreign currency to Dubai during one of their alleged joint travel. According to a source, it is likely that fresh evidence has emerged pointing to Sivasankar’s role in the case.

But even this (Saturday) morning, it is unclear if he has been named as an accused in the currency smuggling case under the provisions of the Customs Act or if the Customs wanted to declare an arrest. Further moves would be made based on Sivasankar’s prognosis in the hospital.

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

Cover to smuggle currency

The Customs has reportedly secured statements from Swapna’s accomplices in the case involving smuggling of foreign currency to the effect that she used her links with the UAE Consulate here to travel to Dubai with Sivasankar and use him as a cover on more than one occasion.

The Customs suspects that this could be a component of a hawala operation to compensate the Dubai end of the international gold smuggling racket. It is poring over immigration records and air passenger manifestos to confirm and record Sivasankar’s culpability in the case, if any.

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Published on October 17, 2020
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