The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a charge sheet against M Sivashankar, former Principal Secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in a case related to money laundering. The charge sheet comprising more than a thousand pages was submitted before an Ernakulam ED court.
The ED has filed a charge sheet as Sivasankar will complete 60 days of judicial custody on December 29 and if the charge sheet is not filed, the accused is liable to get bail.
It may be noted that recently the ED had ordered confiscation of Sivasankar's properties in the money laundering case. The Enforcement Directorate has also mentioned in the charge sheet that as the investigations conducted by the Customs, ED and CBI in the gold smuggling case are at various stages providing bail to Sivasankar at this stage may lead to sabotaging the investigation.
The charge sheet also mentioned that Sivasankar has been the main brain behind the gold smuggling case and that he had amassed huge wealth through it.
The charge sheet also said that the 1 kg gold and 1 crore rupees which was seized from the locker belonging to the gold smuggling accused Swapna, in fact belongs to Sivasankar.
The charge sheet also explains that this was the corruption amount given by the owner of the contracting firm, Santhosh Eapen to Sivasankar after he intervened to get the Life Mission contract to the former.
ED also stated before the court that several digital evidence are yet to be uncovered and hence one more charge sheet will be filed.
Enforcement Directorate has also attached fixed deposits along with seized cash recovered from the bank lockers totalling to Rs 1.85 crore in Kerala Gold Smuggling Case. Amongst the attached assets, Rs 1 crore belongs to M Sivasankar.
It initiated investigation under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) on the basis of NIA's FIR filed before the Special Court for NIA cases in Kochi against Sarith PS, Swapna Prabha Suresh, Faisal Fareed and Sandeep Nair under section 16, 17 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA).
The Customs Commissionerate (Preventive), Cochin had seized 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crore at Trivandrum International Airport on 05.07.2020. The seized gold was camouflaged as diplomatic baggage to UAE Consulate, which has immunity from checking at airport as per Vienna convention.
The consignment was to be received by the accused Sarith PS, who worked in UAE Consulate earlier as Public Relations Officer in complicity with Swapna Prabha Suresh, Sandeep Nair and others.
During the course of investigation under PMLA it was revealed that the accused persons namely Sarith PS, Swapna Prabha Suresh, Faisal Fareed and Sandeep Nair were indulged in illegal smuggling of gold to India and huge amount of Proceeds of Crime (POC) were generated.
Identified POC totalling to Rs 1.85 belonging to the accused persons have been provisionally attached under PMLA. Accused M Sivasankar, IAS was arrested by Enforcement Directorate on 28.10.2020 and presently is in Judicial Custody. Earlier a prosecution complaint has been filed in the case.
(With inputs from IANS)