(Eds: Recasts intro, minor edits) Kochi, Oct 15 (PTI) The Kerala High Court on Thursday restrained the Enforcement Directorate, probing the money trail in the sensational gold smuggling case, from arresting suspended IAS officer and former principal secretary to the Chief Minister, M Sivasankar, till October 23.
The court asked the ED, which had earlier interrogated Sivasankar, to file its report on his anticipatory bail plea, which came up for hearing today.
Adjourning the matter to October 23, the court directed the central agency not to arrest Sivasankar till then.
Apprehending arrest by the ED, Sivasankar who is facing probe in connection with the case, had moved the court on Wednesday seeking anticipatory bail.
When his petition came up on Thursday, the ED said it has not taken a decision on arresting Sivasankar, a former secretary to the Kerala Chief Minister.
The agency also sought time for filing a detailed reply on the matter.
In his plea, Sivasankar had said as a responsible government servant, he had extended maximum cooperation in the investigation of the offence.
He was summoned by the ED on multiple occasions to confront the statements given by different accused and witnesses, he said.
He had expressed fears that media's 'false propaganda' and frivolous news items' and constant demand for his arrest for creating news value has created a situation where the investigating agencies are forced to 'save their skin' from allegations by arresting him, thereby playing to the fourth estate and avoiding criticism.
Sivasankar was earlier interrogated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate probing separate cases related to the gold smuggling using diplomatic channels through the international airport at Thiruvananthapuram.PTI COR TGB SA SS PTI PTI