M. Sivasankar | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Kochi: It was the statement of chartered accountant P. Venugopal that trapped M. Sivasankar, former principal secretary to the Chief Minister, in the Enforcement Directorate (ED)case.
Venugopal stated that he opened the joint locker along with Swapna Suresh based on the direction of Sivasankar. Venugopal said that when Swapna returned home with the cash, Sivasankar was present there. Venugopal added that Sivasankar was present when Swapna handed over the cash and held discussions afterwards.
Venugopal gave a statement that he opened a joint account for Swapna Suresh based on the direction of Sivasankar. He explained about depositing cash in the locker. According to Venugopal, Sivasankar came to his house along with Swapna and handed over the cash two days before it was deposited in the locker.
In his statement to the Enforcement Directorate, M. Sivasankar said that he returned after introducing Swapna Suresh to P. Venugopal. But the chartered accountant has refuted the IAS officer’s statement. Venugopal also said that Sivasankar was present during the entire discussion.
“The bag carrying cash was handed over by Swapna. But Sivasankar had sent a text on WhatsApp before that stating that Rs 35 lakh was being sent. However, only Rs 30 lakh was there. After depositing the cash in the locker, a WhatsApp message was sent to Sivasankar to which he replied ‘thank you’” Venugopal stated.
“I did not charge any fee from Swapna Suresh because of my long time connection with Sivasankar. I was called several times to close the locker. Swapna had taken Rs 30 lakh from the locker in several instalments. On 3-4 occasions, I took cash from the locker and handed it over to Sarith. Once the entire amount was taken out of the locker, she called me to close the locker,” Venugopal added.
In the charge sheet, the Enforcement Directorate has listed P. Venugopal as a witness.