The Customs today recorded the arrest of M Sivasankar, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s former Principal Secretary M Sivasankar in the gold smuggling case. The Customs has received permission from the Special Court for the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to record the arrest of Sivasankar.
The Customs submitted a petition before the Ernakulam Principal Sessions Court seeking the arrest and custody of Sivasankar on Monday. The Customs department recorded the arrest of M Sivasankar on Tuesday at Kakkanad district jail. After the arrest, a petition will be filed seeking his custody this week itself.
The customs team will produce the remand report and other related documents at the Economic Offences Court which is trying the gold smuggling case.
According to Customs sources, Sivasankar will be arraigned and arrested in the case after it received statements from the co-accused that he knew about the gold smuggling. “Swapna has given a statement to ED and Customs that Sivasankar knew about her gold smuggling activities. We suspect that he helped her in the act. To get more information in this regard, his arrest has to be recorded and he must be interrogated in custody,” said a Customs source.
The Customs said it has arrested around 15 people, including prime accused Swapna Suresh, Sarith PS and Sandeep Nair, in connection with the seizure of 30 kg smuggled gold illicitly imported as diplomatic baggage of UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5. The agency said it has now come to light that Sivasankar, who has been arrayed as fifth accused in the case registered by the ED, is also involved in the issue. “However, the Customs is yet to determine the actual involvement. So he is now a suspected accused”, the Customs said in the petition.
The move by the Customs came days after Sivasankar moved the Kerala High Court seeking bail in the ED case after the Special Court for PMLA cases here rejected his application for regular bail on November 17. The National Investigation Agency (NIA), the ED and the Customs are conducting separate investigations into the racket that was busted with the seizure of gold on July 5. The IAS officer was suspended after his links to the accused surfaced.