The Kerala High Court on Thursday directed the Enforcement Directorate(ED) not to arrest M Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary to the Kerala Chief Minister till October 23 in a money laundering case registered by the ED in connection with the diplomatic channel gold smuggling case.
The court passed the interim directive when a petition filed by the senior IAS officer seeking anticipatory bail in the case came up for hearing.
During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General of India at the Supreme Court, S.V. Raju who appeared for the ED submitted that Mr. Sivasankar had not been implicated in the case till date. In fact, his apprehension of arrest by the ED was ill-founded. This was a serious case involving the smuggling of gold worth a huge amount and the involvement of influential people in the case could not be ruled out.
Counsel for Mr. Sivasankar submitted that ED had sent him a notice directing him to produce a passport size photo and a copy of the Aadhar card on October 14 in person or through an authorized person which he did. The ED had later issued him another notice saying that non-appearance before it would be treated as non-co-operation with the investigation. The agency had unnecessarily been harassing the petitioner. The petitioner was willing to cooperate with the investigation and would appear before the ED on Thursday. He did not have an intention to flee from the clutches of law.The counsel, therefore, pleaded for an order protecting him from the arrest.
The court also directed the ED to file a detailed affidavit in response to the anticipatory bail petition and posted the case on October 23 for further hearing.
In the bail petition, the IAS officer said that he feared that the investigating agency would arrest him. The ED had filed a charge sheet connection with the smuggling case before a special court under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act leveling baseless allegations against him. Though the petitioner was questioned for more than 90 hours by different agencies, no incriminating materials could be gathered by them to implicate him in the case.
The petitioner added that he was holding a key post in the government and he had occasion to contact the Consulate General in connection with his duties. He had struck an acquaintance with Swapna Suresh, prime accused in the smuggling case, while she was working as secretary to UAE Consulate General. In fact, the petitioner came to know about the involvement of Swapna and her friends in the gold smuggling case only after the consignment was seized by the customs, he claimed.