M Sivasankar | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Kochi: The Enforcement Directorate has informed the high court that the statement of Swapna Suresh, accused in gold smuggling case, confirmed that her locker stored Sivasankar’s money.
Sivasankar is not cooperating with the probe. So far, he has not revealed the name of the customs official with whom he held talks, Additional Solicitor SV Raju informed the court.
He made the argument while opposing Sivasankar’s bail plea in the court on Friday.
ED informed the court that Swapna has revealed about the reason behind not giving statement against Sivasankar. This statement of Swapna will be submitted before the court in a sealed envelope.
Meanwhile, Supreme Court lawyer Jayadeep Gupta who appeared for Sivasankar argued that Swapna was pressurized to give statement against Sivasankar. Following the arguments of both parties, Justice Ashok Menon deferred the bail plea.
The statements given by Sivasankar and Sarith on December 18 and Swapna on December 15,16 were found to be crucial in the case.
During the interrogation, Swapna confessed that Sivasankar used her locker to keep Rs 1.8 cr which he received as bribe. Sivasankar stored the money in Swapna’s locker. Hence, money laundering charges against him will not be lifted. In order to block evidence, Sivasankar communicated with Swapna through WhatsApp and Telegram, ED informed the court.
ED officials added that the probe against Sivasankar is in a crucial phase.
Sivasankar made Swapna and his chartered account jointly open the locker as he possessed the money. That means Sivasankar has committed the offence under money laundering act thereby helping Swapna to hide the money. Hence, he should not be released on bail, argued ED before the court.
Meanwhile, Sivasankar’s lawyer criticised ED’s observations as an attempt to trap Sivasankar.
“Swapna’s name is not mentioned in the case. It is alleged that Sivasankar committed all the offences. The lower court has stated that there is no evidence which proves Sivasankar phoned customs officials. The probe is being extended without any major findings,” said Sivasankar’s lawyer.