‘Enforcement Directorate trying to falsely implicate me in gold smuggling case’
M. Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, on Wednesday approached the Kerala High Court seeking anticipatory bail in a case filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the diplomatic channel gold smuggling case.
In his petition, he said he apprehended his illegal arrest on the basis of the chargesheet submitted by the ED before a special court under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. 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 alleged crime. The ED questioned him on three occasions for 30 hours, but the petitioner had not been arraigned as an accused in the ED’s final report.
He alleged that the ED had levelled baseless allegations against him to indicate that he had some connection with the alleged smuggling activities. In fact, he had conceded the fact of his acquaintance with Swapna Suresh, prime accused in the case, while she was working as secretary to the UAE Consulate General.
The petitioner was holding a key post in the government then and he had occasions to contact the Consulate General in connection with his duties. In fact, the petitioner came to know that Swapna and her friends used to bring gold to India misusing the office of Consulate General only after a consignment was seized by the Customs, he said.
The specific case of the prosecution was that the smuggling activities started in November 2019. However, WhatsApp message exchanges between the petitioner and his chartered accountant that took place well before this date were needlessly annexed to create a false impression that the petitioner had some involvement in the crime committed by Swapna and others.
Besides, he was only aware of Swapna’s “acceptance of tip from the ruler of Sharjah”. It was on her request that the petitioner had introduced his chartered accountant to Swapna. He was not aware of any other money transaction of the accused, he said.
He feared that the investigating agency would be forced to arrest him to avoid criticism from media.