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Sivasankar, CMO were aware of gold smuggling, says ED

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has said that Swapna Suresh, the second accused in the diplomatic channel gold smuggling case, had stated that M. Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, and his team in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) was fully aware of the smuggling of gold and other electronic items through diplomatic channel.

The agency made the submission while seeking the custody of Mr. Sivasankar for one more day.

According to the statements of Swapna, the nearly ₹1 crore, which was seized from her bank safe deposit locker was meant for Mr. Sivasankar. He was aware of the kickbacks given by Unitac Builders to Swapna and others, including Khalid, the chief financial officer of the UAE Consulate, for facilitating the award of contact from Red Crescent for the LIFE Mission project.

Banking on the statements of Swapna, the agency submitted that Mr. Sivasankar had shared crucial information with her on the KFON and LIFE Mission projects and he might have received kickbacks from certain private parties associated with the projects. Mr. Sivasankar had mentioned these aspects to Swapna in Whatsapp calls made to her, the agency submitted.

Swapna also gave a statement that Mr. Sivasankar was in touch with Santhosh Eappan of Unitac Builders and wanted him to be part of the some contracts under KFON and LIFE Mission projects. She also disclosed to the agency the names of some persons who were very close to Mr. Sivasankar, and one was involved in the Taurus Downtown project, the agency submitted.

T.A. Unnikrishnan, the Special Prosecutor for the ED, sought the custody of Mr. Sivasankar till Thursday for confronting him with the statements of Swapna.

B. Raman Pillai and S. Rajeev, the counsels for Mr. Sivasankar, opposed the demand and stated that the ED was playing a delaying tactics to ensure that some other investigation agencies seek his custody.

Kauser Edappagath, the Special Judge, who allowed the extension of remand for one more day, directed the agency to produce him before the court on Thursday. His bail application will also be heard on the day.

Source: thehindu.com

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