19
Tuesday
January 2021
3:13 PM IST
News Headlines
England beats Sri Lanka by 7 wickets in 1st test        Fourth Test: Rain forces early stumps with India at 4-0 while chasing 328 to win        Three UK partners with TCS to accelerate 5G network rollout        3 Adani Group-owned domestic airports accredited in ACI health accreditation programme        N. Korea''s parliament rubber stamps new development plans        Kremlin critic Navalny detained after landing in Moscow        'Rooting hard for you': Will departure notes end with Trump?        Tandav controversy: FIR against director, Amazon India head of content        Smiles, sanitizers welcome students as schools reopen in Delhi        COVID-19: India records lowest fatalities in eight months        Proposed tractor rally on Jan 26: It's law & order matter, says SC on plea for injunction against it        PM flags off 8 trains to boost connectivity to Statue of Unity        Fire in luggage van of running train doused in time in Kerala        Kerala logs 5,005 new COVID-19 cases, 4,408 recoveries        Farmer unions say they will go ahead with tractor march in Delhi on Republic Day        Kremlin critic Navalny departs Berlin on Moscow-bound flight        Cargo ship sinks in the Black Sea; 3 dead, 6 rescued        4th Test: Australia 21/0 at stumps, lead India by 54 runs after Sundar, Thakur fightback        NorthEast end winless streak to bag crucial points against Jamshedpur        India take tea break at 62/2, replying to Australia's 369        
Home   | Main News   | Kerala  | National   | International  | Business   | Sports   | Entertainment   | Columns   | Offbeat   | Health   | About Deepika 
Main News
Kerala gold smuggling case: ED arrests suspended IAS officer, opposition heat on Vijayan
 
Kochi/Thiruvananthapuram: Suspended IAS officer K Sivasankar was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday in the sensational gold smuggling case, hours after he lost a legal battle in the Kerala High Court for anticipatory bail. The ED, probing the money trail in the case, arrested the former principal secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan after six hours of interrogation at its Kochi office, the latest in a series of grilling by central agencies, official sources said. Opposition Congress and BJP mounted pressure on Vijayan following the ED action against his former secretary, demanding his resignation, while the ruling LDF said it wanted all culprits in the case to be punished.

Earlier in the day, the agency moved swiftly to take custody of Sivasankar from an Ayurveda hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, where he had been undergoing treatment, minutes after the high court dismissed his anticipatory bail plea, and took him to Kochi in a car for interrogation. The high court dismissed two separate anticipatory bail pleas filed by Sivasankar apprehending arrest by Customs investigating the smuggling angle and the ED, observing there was clear indication that the IAS officer was very close to prime accused in the smuggling case Swapna Suresh. The Congress and BJP stepped up pressure on the Chief Minister to quit after Sivasankar was taken into ED custody.

Protests were held at different parts of the state, including in front of the secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram, by the opposition parties and their youth wings demanding the resignation of Vijayan, who has been maintaining that his government would not shield anyone involved in the case. The protesters burnt effigies of Vijayan in some places. The National Investigation Agency, Customs and the ED are conducting separate probes into the seizure of gold worth nearly Rs 15 crore from a "diplomatic baggage" of UAE consulate at Thiruvananthapuram airport on July 5. Several people, including two former employees of the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram, Suresh and Sarith P S, have been arrested by the central agencies so far.

The NIA and Customs have also earlier questioned Sivasankar, who was suspended in July after his alleged links with Suresh surfaced. Dismissing Sivasankar''s anticipatory bail plea in the ED case, the high court observed that the agency was relying on the statements given by him as also prime accused Suresh and his chartered accountant Venugopal. There is clear indication that the IAS officer was very close to Suresh. Sivasankar had discussed about the deposit of amounts belonging to Suresh with his chartered accountant. The officer had introduced her to the chartered accountant and had asked him to sort out her financial problems, Justice Ashok Menon said in the order.

The court further said the statements given by the accountant and Suresh strongly indicate "the involvement" of Sivasankar. "It is alleged to be in consequence of the directions given by the applicant that Swapna Suresh and the Chartered Accountant (Venugopal) opened a locker in the State Bank of India, Thiruvananthapuram Branch. Both of them had rights to operate the locker." "Even though the applicant (Sivasankar) has disassociated himself from activities pertaining to the deposit of amounts in the locker, there is some indication in the communications between him and the chartered accountant regarding the applicant overseeing the management of the finances of Swapna Suresh", the court said.

Noting that the ED has not yet concluded whether the applicant is to be made an accused or a witness in the crime, the court said there are strong indications pointed out by the agency to suggest that the applicant may be a person involved in the money laundering with Suresh. "Probably there may not be sufficient evidence at present collected by the ED to implicate the applicant as an accused, and there also may not be sufficient evidence to suggest that he is guilty of the offences alleged. "But, they have sufficient materials to interrogate him, for which he is bound to cooperate, as a senior government official", the court said dismissing the bail plea.

Rejecting the contentions made by Sivasankar that he was connected with the affairs of the government and had in such capacity interacted with Suresh, then secretary to the Consulate General, UAE, the court observed that "if that be so, there is no need for him to interfere in matters concerning management of her finances." The court said the fact that he was in constant touch with Suresh and even volunteered to help her by contacting his accountant indicates that there is a possibility that he knew her involvement in the "smuggling activity." Reacting to the development, Leader of Opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala demanded the resignation of the chief minister. "Without further justifying Sivasankar, the CM should step down from the post.

It was the Chief Minister''s Office that made all the moves to protect the accused in the gold smuggling case," the Congress leader alleged. BJP state chief K Surendran said that it has now become clear that the CMO intervened in the gold smuggling case. "When the agencies question Sivasankar, more details will come out. The court order has cornered the Left government in the state. As the investigation progresses, the involvement of the chief minister and his office will become clear," Surendran told reporters. Law Minister A K Balan said the government wanted all culprits in the case to be brought to book and extended support to the central agencies in the probe.

"The chief minister has sought a comprehensive probe by the central agencies on July 8.. we just want the law to take its course. Also, the agencies have not complained against the state government as we have provided necessary assistance to them for the investigation," Balan told the media.


Proposed tractor rally on Jan 26: It's law & order matter, says SC on plea for injunction against it
Farmer unions say they will go ahead with tractor march in Delhi on Republic Day
PM launches India's vaccination drive against COVID-19
LDF govt presents welfare oriented budget; oppn questions exercise before election
CM Oppn blasts Kerala CM on gold smuggling case in assembly
US House impeaches President Donald Trump for ''incitement of insurrection'' at Capitol
SC rejects Centre''s vehement plea not to stay farm laws, says it''s not powerless
SC raps Centre over prolonged impasse with protesting farmers, indicates it may stay implementation of farm laws
Bird flu confirmed in 7 states; test results of Delhi, Maharashtra samples awaited
COVID-19 vaccination to start in India on Jan 16; 3 cr healthcare, frontline workers to get shots first
Govt-farmers meeting ends; Next round of talks likely on Jan 15
SC seeks response of Centre on PIL against three farm laws
Trump supporters enter US Capitol in massive breach of security
COVID-19: India records lowest daily cases in over six months
India records 16,504 new COVID-19 cases, 214 fresh fatalities
Every farmer-labourer part of movement a 'satyagrahi', they will take back their rights: Rahul
India records less than 20,000 fresh COVID-19 cases; no. of recoveries goes past 99 lakh
Will have to take firm steps if talks with govt on January 4 fail: Farmer unions
PM cautions against rumours on Corona vaccine, 'Dawai Bhi aur kadai bhi'
Farmers protesting at Delhi borders firm in their demands as Centre, farm unions set to resume talks
KERALA NEWS
Fire in luggage van of running train doused in time in Kerala
 Thiruvananthapuram: A fire broke out in a luggage van of a running train in Kerala on Sunday and was  
Kerala logs 5,005 new COVID-19 cases, 4,408 recoveries
5,960 new COVID-19 cases, 27 deaths in Kerala
Kerala transport corporation MD alleges Rs 100-crore scam
INTERNATIONAL NEWS
N. Korea''s parliament rubber stamps new development plans
 Seoul, Jan 18 (AP) North Korea's rubber-stamp parliament has passed decisions made by a major ruling
Kremlin critic Navalny detained after landing in Moscow
'Rooting hard for you': Will departure notes end with Trump?
Kremlin critic Navalny departs Berlin on Moscow-bound flight
NATIONAL NEWS
Tandav controversy: FIR against director, Amazon India head of content
 Lucknow Jan 18 (PTI) An FIR has been lodged here against the makers of web series 'Tandav' and Amazo
Smiles, sanitizers welcome students as schools reopen in Delhi
COVID-19: India records lowest fatalities in eight months
PM flags off 8 trains to boost connectivity to Statue of Unity
Untitled Page
Rashtra Deepika LTD
Copyright @ 2020 , Rashtra Deepika Ltd.