The suspension of IAS officer M Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, has been extended. On July 17 last year, the state government suspended the bureaucrat after his alleged links with the prime accused in the now-infamous gold smuggling case came to light. Soon after his suspension, he was arrested by the Customs Department and the Enforcement Directorate as an accused in the cases related to gold smuggling. The gold smuggling case pertains to the seizure of 30 kg of gold in a diplomatic baggage meant for an official of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, from Trivandrum International Airport. Following the arrest of two key accused in the case, Swapna Suresh and Sarith PS, it surfaced that both of them had close connections with Sivasankar. Sivasankar is presently out on bail.
According to the rules, the state government had to take a call on revoking Sivasankar's suspension, as it has been a year since he was suspended. After extending the suspension, the state government communicated its decision to the Union government. Sivasankar was also Secretary of the IT Department. He was removed from both the posts of IT Secretary and Principal Secretary, following the controversy.
Sivasankar's arrest was also recorded in the dollar smuggling case, which pertains to the alleged smuggling of $1,90,000 (equivalent to Rs 1.30 crore) by a former official of UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram. The dollar smuggling case surfaced during the investigation into the gold smuggling case. Swapna and Sarith are also the key accused in the dollar smuggling case.
After being quizzed multiple times by investigation agencies including theNational Investigation Agency (NIA), Sivasankar was first arrested by the Enforcement Directorate, that is probing the money laundering angle in the gold smuggling case, on October 28, 2020. The Customs Department then arrested him in the gold smuggling case on November 24, 2020. Customs also arrested him in the dollar smuggling case on January 22, 2021.