M Sivasankar | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Kochi: A Special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court on Wednesday extended the judicial custody of M Sivasankar, former Principal Secretary to the Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, in connection with the LIFE Mission scam case till March 21.
Earlier the court had sent him in judicial custody till March 8 which ended today. Sivasankar was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on February 14.
His arrest is the first in the case, pertaining to the state government's LIFE Mission project, which intended to provide homes to the poor who lost their houses in the floods of 2018. The housing project was proposed at Vaddakanchery in the Thrissur district.
The project intended to build houses for 140 families in Vadakkanchery by spending Rs 14.50 crore out of Rs 18.50 crore granted by the Red Crescent via the UAE consulate. The contract noted the construction of a health care centre using the remaining amount.
The ED claimed that Sivasankar (60) and others made undue monetary gains in the form of kickbacks in awarding the contract for the construction of the houses under the LIFE Mission scheme.
On February 16, the remand report submitted by ED in the PMLA Court against M Sivasankar, former principal secretary to the Kerala CMO in the LIFE Mission Scam Case, revealed some WhatsApp chats between him and other accused Swapna Suresh.
The remand report alleged that there is a larger nexus involving government representatives in the allocation of contracts and the generation of proceeds of crime via the upfront commission as a bribe.
"In his WhatsApp message sent to Swapna on July 31, 2019, Sivasankar warned Swapna to be very careful and asked to take care. In his WhatsApp message, Sivasankar told Swapna not to get involved and warned her that if something goes wrong, they would put blame on her. He also told Swapna to keep away from the process to which Swapna replied that she would give it to Sarith and Khalid (other suspects in the case). Sivasankar also told Swapna that CM had asked him to get a job for Swapna," the remand report read.
The report further said that the material evidence such as the WhatsApp conversation between Swapna Suresh and Sivasankar and the statement given by Suresh, it is clearly indicating that there is a larger nexus involving government representatives in the allocation of contracts and generation of proceeds of crime via the upfront commission as a bribe.