M Sivasankar remanded to judicial custody until November 26; bail plea verdict deferred to Tuesday
Kochi: M Sivasankar has been remanded to judicial custody until November 26 in connection with the gold smuggling case. He will be shifted to the Ernakulam district jail.
The Principal Sessions Court accepted the Enforcement Directorate’s demand for judicial custody of the accused. Meanwhile, the verdict on Sivasankar’s bail plea will be pronounced on Tuesday.
ED had stated that Swapna was just a mask and that it was Sivasankar who acted as the brain behind it. The money in the locker belongs to Sivasankar as well. He tried to spend it as per his interests. ED also produced evidence to prove that Sivasankar knew of gold smuggling.
Senior advocate B Raman Pillai appeared for Sivasankar in the court. Sivasankar’s advocate argued that the case was charged on the basis of statements from people. The court asked how these statements can be discounted and that the main accused in the case gave a statement against Sivasankar. The court also added that Swapna’s statement was taken in the presence of the jail superintendent. The court made these observations while considering the bail plea.
The advocate pointed out that Swapna’s statement against Sivasankar could be a result of pressure exerted on her. Swapna did not give the same statement when she was interrogated earlier in custody. So, this statement should not be taken into account. The Chief Minister’s office is the target of this investigation. He also said that there was a contradiction in the cases filed by NIA and ED.
Gold smuggling case took place a year after the locker was opened. Then, how can it be argued that the locker was opened for the purpose of smuggling gold. ED is not revealing information about the officer that Sivasankar called in order to release the baggage. He did not call any customs officers. As per Swapna’s insistence, he contacted the Food and Safety Officer in Kochi. The advocate also pointed out that the WhatsApp message sent by Swapna to Sivasankar asking for money after her father’s death on May 8.
ED stated that Sivasankar made an intervention for the release of the baggage and that he admitted to calling a Customs officer upon Swapna’s insistence. Solicitor General Suryaprakash P Rao argued, opposing Sivasankar’s bail plea, Sivasankar handed over the secret documents regarding Life Mission project to Swapna Suresh.
Sivasankar’s custody period had ended on Wednesday. Following this, the Principal Sessions Court extended his custody for one more day.
The Enforcement Directorate stated in its report that the officers in the Chief Minister's office, including M Sivasankar, knew of the gold smuggling activities. Swapna had strong connections in the Chief Minister’s office. Rs 1 crore, which Swapna received as commission, belonged to Sivasankar. Swapna has also revealed a name in connection with the Taurus Downtown project. He was very close to Sivasankar.
ED also stated that there is proof that Sivasankar received commission in the Life Mission case.