Court denies bail to suspended IAS officer Sivasankar in ED case linked to gold smuggling

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Kochi, Nov 17 (PTI) Suspended IAS officer M Sivasankar was on Tuesdaydenied bail by a court here in an Enforcement Directorate (ED) case related to money launderingcharges in the Kerala gold smuggling racket.

The special court dealing with Prevention of Money Laundering Act case (PMLA) here rejected the plea moved by the former Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister.

The court had on November 12 posted the plea to Tuesday for orders after hearing arguments of the prosecution and the defence in detail.

The officer, arrested by the ED on October 28 in connection with the 'money laundering' aspect in the gold smuggling case, is now lodged in a jail here after the court remanded him to judicial custody till November 26.

Sivasankar had on Monday submitted an argument note in the court alleging that he was arraigned as an accused as he had refused to name a few political targets of theED's choice.

He had described as 'without any basis' and 'trumped up' the ED's claim thathe accepted in his statement to the agency on October 15 that he had spoken to a senior customs officer and made request to clear cargo addressed to UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram as per wishes of Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the gold smuggling case.

The ED, probing the money trail in the case, had earlier alleged that Suresh in a statement claimed that Sivasankar and his team in the CMO were fully aware of the smugglingof the precious metal through diplomatic channel.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), the ED and the Customs are conducting separate investigations into the racket that was busted with the seizure ofgold worth Rs 15 crore from a diplomatic baggage of the UAE Consulate at Thiruvananthapuram airport on July 5.

The ED has alleged that Sivasankar had intervened to get the diplomatic baggage containing smuggled gold cleared without examination by the Customs.

The IAS officer was suspended after his links to Suresh surfaced. PTI UD VS VS