ED arrests suspended IAS officer in Kerala gold smuggling case
Thiruvananthapuram/IBNS: The Enforcement Directorate has arrested M Sivasankar, former principal secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in the gold smuggling case.
The suspended officer was taken in custody for questioning by the probe agency on Wednesday morning after the Kerala High Court rejected his anticipatory bail request.
The Kerala gold smuggling case is being probed by the Enforcement Directorate, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Customs Department.
In July, customs officials had seized 30 kg of gold from diplomatic baggage bound for the United Arab Emirates Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram district.
Officials found that former employees of the consulate-general, Swapna Suresh and Sarith Nair, were involved in the gold smuggling. Both of them worked at the consulate general's office until six months ago.
M Sivasankar had been earlier questioned several times by the three central probe agencies following allegations of his close links with the accused in the gold smuggling case.
On Wednesday morning, officials of ED took him into custody from the Triveni Nursing Home in Thiruvananthapuram, where he had been admitted.
The suspended IAS officer had also petitioned in the court saying he was questioned by several probe agencies for more than 90 hours but the probe agencies have "not submitted any report or incriminating materials against him", before the same.
However, the ED and the Customs Department had strongly opposed the anticipatory bail petition.
The Enforcement Directorate had told the court that this is a case where "custodial interrogation" may be required, as appropriate, and that M Sivasankar had remained "evasive" on certain facts when questioned.
The agency also informed the court that the officer was in regular contact with the accuse