Anticipatory bail for Kerala CM's former secy rejected

Gold-smuggling case: Anticipatory bail plea of Kerala CM's former secretary Sivasankar rejected

M Sivasankar. Credit: PTI Photo

Kerala Chief Minister's former principal secretary M Sivasankar's anticipatory bail plea in connection with the gold smuggling case with Customs and Enforcement Directorate was rejected by Kerala High Court on Wednesday.

Soon after the HC denied anticipatory bail to the former secretary, ED officials reached a private ayurveda hospital in Thiruvananthapuram where Sivasankar was under treatment and took him. It was learnt that ED served a summons to him and took him to its Kochi office for recording his arrest.

The fresh developments come as a major embarrassment to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan as Sivasankar had been serving as his secretary over the last four years and was involved in key decision making processes. He was suspended from service in July after the allegations against him surfaced. Opposition parties are stepping up attack against the government in view of the actions by investigation agencies against Sivasankar.

ED and Customs had strongly objected Sivasankar's anticipatory bail plea. The central agencies maintained that Sivasankar had even misused his official position to help the gold smuggling accused, especially former employee of UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, Swapna Suresh.

Sources said that though Sivasankar's direct involvement in gold smuggling was yet to be unearthed, there was strong evidence for Sivasankar helping Swapna hide the illegally earned money in bank lockers. He was also alleged to have pressurised a private bank to exchange about Rs 1.4 crore to US dollars for Swapna.

Though the Customs made steps to arrest him earlier this month, he complained of discomfort on the way and was hence hospitalised.