Gold smuggling case: NIA summons suspended IAS officer again (Lead)

Updated July 27, 2020

social social social social Gold smuggling case: NIA summons suspended IAS officer again (Lead)
After questioning him for nine hours in the gold smuggling case, NIA officials on Monday night asked suspended senior IAS officer M. Sivasankar to appear before them on Tuesday too.

He was let off at 7 p.m. from the NIA office here.

This is the second time in four days that Sivasankar has been questioned by the NIA, in the case that has rocked Kerala this month.

Sivasankar was a former Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Information Technology Secretary before he was removed from the post after the racket came to light.

When media persons raised the ongoing questioning of his former close aide, a peeved Vijayan shot back by saying that this is not a cause for worry for the government and this had been stated before also.

The NIA had questioned Sivasankar in Thiruvananthapuram for five hours on Thursday and put him on notice to appear at its Kochi office for further questioning on Monday.

The case first surfaced when P.S. Sarith, a former employee of the UAE Consulate here, was arrested by the Customs on July 5 when he was allegedly facilitating the smuggling of 30 kg gold in a diplomatic baggage from Dubai to Thiruvananthapuram.

The case became more murky when the name of Swapna Suresh, a former employee of the UAE Consulate and later employed with the IT Department, surfaced in the case. Her links with Sivasankar came up later during the investigation.

Another accused, Sandip Nair of Kochi, was arrested on charge of direct involvement in the smuggling.

Sivasankar arrived in his own vehicle at the NIA office here around 9.20 a.m. after a nearly five-hour trip from the state capital.

Security at the NIA office was beefed up and no one except the media was allowed to stay put in front of the premises.

Police officials took the IAS officer inside the NIA office and after the mandatory Covid test, he was escorted to a special room for questioning. Sivasankar was also served breakfast before his questioning began.

A woman IPS officer from the NIA has arrived from Hyderabad to lead the agency officials in questioning Sivasankar, while other officials will be linked online from various offices during the process.

The Customs had first quizzed Sivasankar for nine hours, after the case surfaced and they arrested Sarith. Swapna and Sandip were arrested by the NIA from Bengaluru.

Sivasankar would be questioned from a prepared list of questions by the NIA. His statements are given to the Customs as well.

Sivasankar has maintained during his earlier questioning that his relations with Swapna were personal and not linked to their activities.

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