Gold Smuggling case: Pressured by ED to name 'political targets', M Sivasankar tells court

ANI
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M Sivasankar, former principal secretary of Kerala CMO (file photo)
M Sivasankar, former principal secretary of Kerala CMO (file photo)

Kochi (Kerala) [India], November 16 (ANI): The accused in Kerala's gold smuggling case, and former principal secretary of Kerala Chief Minister, M Sivasankar submitted an affidavit in the Principal Sessions Court on Monday stating that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had put pressure on him to name some a few political targets of its choice and upon his refusal to do so, he was arrayed as an accused and arrested.

ED in an official communique said that during the course of the money-laundering investigation the role of M Sivasankar was fortified.

"In the most shocking and in the most unethical manner, the ED has changed the whole narrative relating to Proceeds of Crime in its Application for Extension of Custody dated November 5... There the ED, states that the M Sivasankar (bail applicant) is somehow connected with the kick-backs received by Swapna Suresh and others regarding the Life Mission projects... The ED, however, desisted from disclosing the actual role of bail applicant supposedly found by the ED in the alleged 'kick-backs' received by Swapna and others," said the affidavit submitted by M Sivasankar's counsel.

The affidavit further said that ED has made "glaring contradiction in this very aspect of proceeds of the crime, conjuring up a narrative as and when they please to suit the requirement of procuring the bail applicant's arrest/ custody or remand as the case may be on that particular day in court."

"This is highly suspicious and smacks of malice and such an investigating agency ought not to be trusted for the proper presentation of facts before this Hon'ble Court. Evidence from Whatsapp chats presented by ED are only half-truths and lies designed at presenting a concocted story to mislead this Hon'ble Court," the affidavit stated further.

In response, ED's official communique said during the course of the investigation, in the said case, the role of M Sivasankar is fortified.

"ED investigation so far has clearly established the involvement of M Sivasankar in the gold smuggling. The investigation has also revealed that he is involved in receiving kickbacks in the LIFE Mission project," ED said.

The investigation agency further stated, "ED is also looking whether kickbacks has been received in other contracts as well like KFON, Smartcity Kochi among others, as these were supervised by Sivasankar as Principal Secretary to Chief Minister and also Swapna had some role to play in these.

"M Sivasankar has shared confidential details about these projects with Swapna for reasons best known to him. ED is investigating all these issues and also the possible role of other persons close to M Sivasankar in these projects. WhatsApp chat between Swapna and M Sivasankar proves his involvement in gold smuggling and receipt of kickbacks in LIFE Mission projects. Those chats were conveniently not included in the argument note submitted by M Sivasankar in the court," ED added.

Earlier today. Customs department officials arrived at Ernakulam district prison to interrogate M Sivasankar, in connection with a money laundering case related to the smuggling of gold into the state through diplomatic channels.

M Sivasankar is in judicial custody till November 26 in connection with the case.

The case, which is currently being probed by the ED, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), and the Customs Department, pertains to the smuggling of gold in the state through diplomatic channels.

The matter had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crores, smuggled in a diplomatic cargo, was busted by the Customs in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5. (ANI)