Kerala gold smuggling: HC reserves order on bail plea of ex-secy

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Friday reserved its order on the anticipatory bail pleas filed by M Sivasankar, former principal secretary in Kerala Chief Minister’s Office, in connection with the Kerala gold smuggling case.

A single-judge bench of Justice Ashok Menon reserved its order for October 28 and extended the interim protection from arrest till the order is pronounced.

Sivasankar had filed bail pleas in connection with the cases being probed by the Enforcement Directorate and the Customs Department in the Kerala gold smuggling case. Both the agencies have already filed their responses on the bail plea.

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The ED, in its response before the court, submitted that Sivasankar’s alleged links with the gold smuggling case accused Swapna Suresh can be established only through custodial interrogation.

“Sivasankar participated in various activities with Swapna Suresh and others who have been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). He is also linked to serious economic offences and hence his custodial interrogation is required,” ED had submitted to the court.

The Customs Department, on the other hand, had opposed the bail plea maintaining that Sivasankar faked illness to get admitted to a hospital. It said that anticipatory bail plea is not maintainable in law particularly under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which deals with the direction for grant of bail to a person apprehending arrest.

Meanwhile, a special NIA court on Thursday disposed of Sivasankar’s anticipatory bail plea in connection with a case related to gold smuggling being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) after it was informed that Sivasankar is not an accused as of now and the arrest is not under consideration.

The case, which is currently being probed by the Enforcement Directorate, the 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 crore, smuggled in a diplomatic cargo, was busted by the Customs in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5. 

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