M Sivasankar, the former Principal Secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, has approached the Kerala High Court, seeking bail in a case registered by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the gold scandal. Sivasankar, who emerged as the key player in the contentious gold smuggling case, sought bail in the Kerala HC on Friday.
Earlier on Tuesday, a Special court had denied the bail to Ex-Principal Secretary based on a sealed cover submitted to the judge by the ED. The court accepted the objection of ED, on charges levelled by Sivasankar. The officer has now challenged the special court's order by submitting a bail application in the High Court. Now it is to be seen whether the HC will consider the evidence enclosed in the sealed cover while hearing the bail plea of Sivasankar.
Previously, the ex-Principal Secretary had filed an affidavit claiming that he was pressurised by the ED to name certain politicians. Countering the claim, the central agency had then submitted a sealed cover report with strong evidence, after which Sivasankar's custody was extended till November 25.
Sivasankar's alleged involvement in the scam while being principal secretary to CM Pinarayi Vijayan has led the Chief Minister and his office to face allegations by the opposition, of being complicit to the massive Gold smuggling scam. Moreover, photos of the CM with prime accused Swapna Suresh have also come to the fore raising suspicions. Hence, the opposition has also demanded that the CM tender his resignation.
Swapna Suresh, an ex-consulate employee, was appointed as the manager of the Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited (KSITIL) by Sivasankar. The ED had submitted evidence of calls between the two adding that Sivasankar was directly involved with the proceeds of the scam highlighting that Swapna was totally under Sivasankar's control.
On July 5, Customs officials seized 30 kg of gold worth Rs.15 crore at the Thiruvananthapuram Airport from a diplomatic cargo addressed to a person in the UAE Consulate. Sarith Kumar, who worked at the UAE Consulate, was arrested in this regard.
Reportedly, he told the Customs about the role of Swapna Suresh.
Following the backlash over her appointment, she was sacked by the state government. On July 16, Vijayan announced the suspension of his former Principal Secretary M Sivasankar pending the departmental inquiry. It was reportedly found that he had violated the All-India Services Conduct rules due to his connections with the gold smuggling accused. The case is currently being probed by the ED, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Customs Department