The Kerala High Court on Wednesday adjourned to December 8 hearing on the bail petition filed by M Sivasankar, former principal secretary of the Kerala Chief Minister's Office, in connection with a money laundering case related to the smuggling of gold into the state through diplomatic channels.
A bench of Justice Ashoke Menon adjourned the plea seeking bail for M Sivasankar in the case, being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), for further hearing on December 8.
Advocate Jaideep Gupta, appearing for M Sivasankar, submitted that the connection of M Sivasankar is non-existent as far as gold smuggling is concerned and added that the ED cannot go into allegations regarding the offence of bribery.
"There were three persons implicated in the gold smuggling -- Sarith PS, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair. They were a group of persons working in tandem. Sarith and Swapna worked in the UAE consulate and they were friends and colleagues. As the case proceeded, the ED started to put forward a case that M Sivasankar is the mastermind of this gold smuggling case. He has no connection at all with these persons," Mr Gupta said.
He said that there is no reason for the prosecution to suggest that M Sivasankar was the mastermind. Pointing out that there is no doubt Swapna Suresh was a family-friend of M Sivasankar, Mr Gupta said this friendship does not mean that M Sivasankar is involved in the illegal acts allegedly done by Swapna.
"The only allegation against him to link with this case is the opening of the locker. The locker was opened for helping Swapna to manage her finances. Money was kept there. But this money is not the money involved in this case. He has nothing to do with this locker from the beginning," Mr Gupta said.
"In any event, all this happened and it was over by the first half of 2019. The offences are said to have started from the end of 2019. Thus there is no connection with the case at all. By just removing the dates, the impression is given that they are connected," he added.
Notably, a Principal Sessions Court in Kochi had on November 17 dismissed M Sivasankar's bail petition in the money laundering case.
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.
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