HC denies Sivasankar anticipatory bail

M. Sivasankar, the former Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, was denied anticipatory bail by the Kerala High Court considering the โ€œstrong indications pointed out by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to suggest that the applicant may be a person involved in the money laundering with Swapna Suresh,โ€ one of the accused in the diplomatic channel gold smuggling case.

Denying the anticipatory bail in the gold smuggling case of Customs, the court pointed out that there was a โ€œfair possibilityโ€ that he โ€œknew about the involvement of Swapna in the alleged smuggling activity.โ€

Mr. Sivasankar, who was in constant contact with Swapna, had even volunteered to help her by contacting his chartered accountant and asking him to assist her in managing her finances, the judge noted.

Justice Ashok Menon said in the ED case, the statements given by the chartered accountant and Swapna strongly indicated the involvement of Mr. Sivasankar. Probably, there may not be sufficient evidence to implicate him as an accused and to suggest that he was guilty of the offences alleged. However, the ED has sufficient materials to interrogate him, for which he is bound to cooperate as a senior government official, the court noted.

Referring to the statement of Mr. Sivasankar that he had interacted in his official capacity with Swapna, who was the secretary to the UAE Consular General, the court noted that if that was the case, there was no need for him to interfere in the management of her finances.

The fact that he had intervened in the financial management of Swapna had created an adverse situation, the judge noted. Mr. Sivasankar has not yet been made an accused and he is only required for the purpose of interrogation by the ED.

The court noted that there was clear indication that Mr. Sivasankar was very close to Swapna and he introduced her to the chartered accountant and had asked him to sort out her financial problems. Even though Mr. Sivasankar had disassociated himself from depositing her money in the locker, there were indications in the communications between him and the chartered accountant regarding his role in overseeing the management of her finances, the judge observed.

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