Serious allegations against the Kerala Chief Minister's Office (CMO) in connection with the gold smuggling case have once again surfaced. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) told a special court in Kochi that a key accused in the case has alleged that suspended IAS officer M Sivasankar and his team in the CMO knew about the gold smuggling.
The agency which is probing the money laundering angle in the case told the Principal Sessions Court in Ernakulam, while seeking another day’s custody of Sivasankar, who is the fifth accused in the case. The court granted the agency custody of Sivasankar for another day.
According to the ED, Swapna Suresh, second accused in the case, while being interrogated on Tuesday, allegedly said, "Mr Sivasankar and his team in CMO was fully aware of the gold smuggling and other electronic items done through diplomatic channels."
During the interrogation, ED says Swapna was shown certain WhatsApp messages exchanged between Sivasankar and her, and she made this allegation as one of the explanations.
The ED told the court that she further stated that Sivasankar was allegedly aware of the kickbacks received by former UAE Consulate finance head Khalid from the contractors who bagged the Life Mission project at Wadakanchery. Considering the plea filed by ED, the special court extended Sivasankar' custody period, which was to end on Tuesday, by one more day. The court will again consider the case on Thursday.
In its plea, the ED has once again stated the allegation that Sivasankar had disclosed confidential information regarding certain state government projects to Swapna Suresh, including Kerala Fibre Optic Network (KFON) project.
The ED also added that Sivasankar was in contact with Santhosh Eappan of Unitac Builders and Developers, one of the contractors of the controversial Life Mission project in Wadakanchery, and that he wanted Santhosh to be part of some contracts under KFON and Life Mission projects.
It had earlier surfaced that gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh, Sandeep Nair, Sarith PS and former UAE Consulate employee Khalid had allegedly received huge kickbacks as part of the project.
Sivasankar was arrested on October 28, soon after the High Court rejected his anticipatory bail petition. He had been in ED custody in Kochi, ever since then.
(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)