After being incarcerated for over two months in the money laundering and diplomatic channel gold smuggling cases, M. Sivasankar, the former Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, secured bail from the Kerala High Court and the Economic Offences Court, Ernakulam, in both the cases on Monday.
The High Court granted bail to Mr. Sivasankar in a money laundering case registered by the Enforcement Directorate.
Justice Ashok Menon, while granting Mr. Sivasankar bail, observed that there was no doubt about the complicity of the petitioner in the case and there were no reasonable grounds to believe that he was not guilty.
The court, however, noted that he was subjected to interrogation, including custodial interrogation, for a number of times.
The present pandemic times also did not encourage the incarceration of an accused indefinitely. Besides, the prosecution had not been able to establish whether there was a likelihood of his committing any offence while he was released on bail. Therefore, the court found that there was no rationale for continuing his judicial custody as an undertrial.
The court observed that the investigation revealed that the petitioner had played a significant role in the offence. He could not give a satisfactory explanation regarding why he was anxious to introduce Swapna Suresh, one of the accused in the gold smuggling case, to Venugopal, a chartered accountant and a witness in the case, to facilitate parking of her money in a locker.
Swapna had given statements that Mr. Sivasankar was aware of the deposits and withdrawals from the locker. “It was true that the prosecution may not have been able to establish with precision how the proceeds of crime were generated. But indications about the applicant having knowledge of the smuggling activities in which Swapna was involved suggest that he also had a share in the proceeds of crime,” the court added.
The court ordered his release on bail on his executing a bond for ₹5 lakh with two solvent sureties to the like amount.
The other conditions include surrender of his passport and appearing before investigation officers whenever asked for by the investigation agency.