Kochi (Kerala) [India], November 12 (ANI): A Principal Sessions Court in Kochi on Thursday remanded M Sivasankar, former principal secretary of Kerala Chief Minister's Office, to 14-day judicial custody in connection with a money laundering case related to the smuggling of gold into the state through diplomatic channels.
The court also posted for November 17 the hearing on the bail petition of Sivasankar.
"It is a crime to knowingly help hiding the money earned from smuggling. According to the accused Swapna Suresh, Sivasankar did that. Swapna's statement was taken in the presence of the prison superintendent. How can we ignore the statement of Swapna that Sivasankar knew about gold smuggling?" the court observed.
The ED also submitted evidence against Sivasankar in a sealed cover. The counsel of Sivasankar, however, submitted that the ED is on a mission and their aim is the Chief Minister's Office.
The court also noted that the ED's finding that the money found in Swapna's locker was a bribe to Sivasankar in the Life Mission is against their case and added that this does not fall within the ambit of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Earlier, the ED had submitted that Swapna Suresh has disclosed that Sivasankar and his team at the CMO were fully aware of the gold smuggling. Sivasankar has been in the custody of the economic offences watchdog for questioning since his arrest on October 28 in 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.
Meanwhile, the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau named Sivasankar as the fifth accused in the Wadakkanchery life mission scam case. (ANI)