Sivasankar contacted Customs to clear gold-containing baggage, says ED arrest memo
KOCHI: More than assisting gold smuggling case accused Swapna Suresh of money laundering, former Kerala Principal Secretary M Sivasankar also contacted Customs for clearing diplomatic cargo containing gold, when it was seized on July 5. This was stated by Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the arrest memo issued to Sivasankar on Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, ED was given seven days of custody of Sivasankar after he was produced at Special Court of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases in Kochi at 11 am on Thursday. He underwent the Covid-19 test which turned negative. ED had sought 14 days custody.
In the arrest memo, a copy of which is with TNIE, the ED said: “During the statement given to ED on October 15, you accepted to have spoken to a senior Customs officer and made the request as per the wishes of Swapna Suresh. This clearly shows your active involvement in the offence committed by Swapna. This also amounts to misuse of public office and interference in the official working of other government departments.”
The ED also claimed that Sivasankar might have called several times for clearance of diplomatic baggage. “Analysis of WhatsApp chats is also indicative of the fact that you in your official capacity might have called for clearance of diplomatic cargos as well including ones containing smuggled gold because nobody tells what was inside such diplomatic bags once cleared un-examined,” the report said.
According to ED, Sivasankar’s involvement has helped in the smuggling of gold 21 times from 2019 to 2020. Similarly, ample opportunities were given to Sivasankar to reveal and cooperate with the investigation to unravel proceeds of crime generated from gold smuggling. “You have wilfully adopted an attitude of non-cooperation by either evading the query or giving misleading and evasive replies. By such action of wilful non-cooperation, you are impeding the investigation by not disclosing the facts and information which is in your exclusive knowledge,” stated in the report.