Kerala gold smuggling case: Sivasankar leaves NIA office after 9 hrs of interrogation

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Kochi (Kerala) [India], July 27 (ANI): M Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, has left the National Investigation Agency (NIA) office in Kochi on Monday evening after he was interrogated by the agency for around 9 hours in the gold smuggling case. The questioning will continue tomorrow. Earlier on July 23, the senior IAS official was questioned by NIA for nearly five hours.According to the investigation, Sivasankar shared close proximity with the key accused in the gold smuggling case, Swapna Suresh and Sarith PS. Also, the probe revealed that he also had known Sandeep Nair the fourth accused in the case. As the probe by customs and NIA progressed, the revelation by the accused during interrogation that Sivasankar helped them to book a flat near secretariat turned the tables against the bureaucrat, who till his ouster was the face of Kerala IT department and was a powerful officer in Kerala Chief Minister's Office. Vijayan, when asked about his former principal secretary being questioned by NIA, said during a press meet: "I have told about this earlier. Some people are interested only in this matter. NIA is probing the case properly, as part of it they can reach anywhere. Let them travel in their path. I have reacted about all this earlier and there is no need to repeat it." The NIA had earlier submitted before a special NIA court that around Rs 1 crore cash and 982.5 grams gold ornaments were seized from two bank lockers of accused Swapna Suresh, a former consultant with the state's IT department. The matter, which pertains to the smuggling of gold in the state through diplomatic channels, had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crores, smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage, was busted by customs in Thiruvananthapuram last month. (ANI)

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