Kerala gold smuggling case: BJP workers demand CM’s resignation

Kozhikode: The BJP Yuva Morcha workers protested outside the police commissioner’s office in Kozhikode on Friday, demanding Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s resignation over the involvement of his former principal secretary M Sivashankar in the gold smuggling case.

Police had to used water cannon to disperse the workers as they tried to remove and climb barricades, waving flags and shouting slogans.
Sivasankar has been arrested by Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case related to the Kerala gold smuggling case.

During a hearing on his custody on Thursday, the ED submitted before a principal sessions court in Kochi that Sivasankar had asked officials to clear some diplomatic baggage without checking by the Customs authorities.

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The court, after hearing the submissions in the matter, sent Sivasankar to seven days’ ED custody for questioning in the matter.

The ED submitted that Sivasankar had intervened after a “desperate request” of accused Swapna Suresh. It said while Sivasankar has denied this, they are in possession of Whatsapp messages exchanged between the two, which indicates that Sivasankar had intervened.

“It is revealed that the accused, Sarith P S, Swapna, Fasil Fareed and Sandeep Nair, had conspired to send two dummy diplomatic baggage in the month of July 2019, just two months after the intervention by Sivasankar… in April 2019…,” the ED submitted.

After the hearing, Sivasankar’s counsel, advocate S Rajeev, told reporters that the court has directed that if he is being questioned for three hours, he should be given one-hour rest.

“The court also directed to give the necessary medical treatment. He will be produced next on November 5. The court accepted that he was dragged out of the hospital. It is not correct to say that he is not cooperating with the investigation,” Rajeev said.

“Sometimes they do not get the answer they need. The court has said that the necessary facilities should be provided during the custody period. If he wants to go to the hospital after 6 pm, they have to do it. Permission has been granted for family members to visit,” he added.

The matter had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crore, smuggled in a diplomatic cargo, was busted by the Customs in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5.

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