Customs quiz Kerala IAS officer for nine hours in gold smuggling case

Source: PTI | Published on 15th July 2020, 2:07 PM | National News |

Thiruvananthapuram:  Senior IAS officer M Sivasankar, sacked principal secretary of KeralaChief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, was questioned by Customs officers for nearly nine hours, till early Wednesday morning in the gold smuggling case.

The bureaucrat had appeared before theofficials by around5.15 pm on Tuesday shortly after being served notice summoning himto appear beforethe officers in connection with the ongoing investigation in the sensational case.

The marathon questioning went on till around 2.15 am this morning after which the official was escorted back to his home by customs authorities.

The Customs is probing whether Sivasankar, who was also removed as IT secretary, had used his office to provide any help to key accused-- Sarith, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair.

Sivasankar is presently on a year's leave.

The Chief Minister had told the media on Tuesday that apanel headed by Chief Secretary Dr Vishwas Mehta was probing the charges against the bureaucrat and action would be taken if he was found guilty.

The government had removed Sivasankar as Principal Secretary to the CM and also IT Secretary after allegations surfaced that he had links with the woman accused in the case related to the attempt to smuggle gold through diplomatic baggage using the name of a person in the UAE consulate in Thiruvananthapuram.

The Customs seized the gold, weighing over 30 kg and valued at around Rs 15 crore on July 5.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which has been entrusted with the probe into the case hasbooked four accused-- Sarith, Swapna Suresh, Sandeep Nair and Fasil Fareed under the UnlawfulActivities (Prevention) Act.

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