The anticipatory bail plea of M Sivasankar, the suspended IAS officer and former secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, was rejected by the Kerala High Court today in relation to the Kerala gold scam. Sivasankar was detained by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) after his plea was rejected. His bail plea was opposed by the Customs and the ED on the allegation that he was aware of smuggling by accused Swapna Suresh.
According to reports, Sivasankar has denied his involvement in the case and said that he had merely introduced Swapna Suresh to his CA for opening an account and that had no other idea about it. However, the agencies claimed that his WhatsApp chats with his CA show otherwise.
Prime Accused Swapna Suresh’s Statements to the ED
Swapna Suresh who is the prime accused in the Kerala gold scam had told the ED that CM Vijayan had unofficially recommended the name of M Sivasankar as the Kerala government’s point of contact with the UAE’s consulate. She also revealed to the ED that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had held multiple meetings with the Consul General of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2017. She further revealed that private meetings were held between CM Vijayan and the UAE diplomats at the CM’s official residence in Thiruvananthapuram.
Accused Rabins Hameed arrested by the NIA
On Monday, the National Investigation Agency extradited Rabins Hameed, one of the key accused in the Kerala gold scam, from Dubai to India and arrested him. Hameed is accused of arranging funds for purchasing gold from Dubai to be smuggled into India.
Kerala Gold Scam
The gold scam was exposed on July 5, 2020 after the Customs Department seized 30 kg of gold from a diplomatic consignment addressed to the UAE consulate. The department had arrested P Sarith Kumar, a former public relations officer of the consulate who had come to receive the luggage. Later on, Swapna Suresh and another accused Sandip Nair were arrested in their hideout in Bengaluru. The names of top officials of the Chief Minister’s Office have come under scrutiny in the scam.