HC directs Customs not to arrest Sivasankar in Gold smuggling case

Kochi: The Kerala High Court has ordered the Customs Department not to arrest the former Principal Secretary to Kerala Chief Minister, M Sivasankar, till October 23, on the day when it will consider his anticipatory bail applications in cases registered by the Customs as well as by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Justice Ashok Menon, who heard the plea, also directed the Customs to file a counter affidavit in this case before October 23.

Senior Advocate P Vijayabhanu, who appeared for the former Principal Secretary, submitted that “He is willing to appear before any investigating authority and has also done so in the past. 600 hours of travelling for the purpose of investigation has taken a toll on the health of M Sivasankar (IAS). Every attempt is being made to over-reach the order passed by the court in the ED case. IAS officer being prosecuted like a common criminal.”

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Counsel who appeared for the Customs opposed this plea and sought time to get instructions in the matter. “He (Sivasankar) is playing politics, he is now contradicting Chief Minister’s statement, as stated by him,” the Counsel said.

Sivasankar, had today moved a petition seeking anticipatory bail in the case registered by the Customs in relation to the gold smuggling case.

Earlier, the High Court had granted him interim protection from arrest till October 23 in the case registered by the ED.

The case, which is currently being probed by the ED, National Investigation Agency and the Customs department, pertains to the smuggling of gold in the state through diplomatic channels.

The matter had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crores smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage was busted by the Customs in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5. 

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