Former Principal Secretary Questioned In Kerala Gold Smuggling Case

M Sivasankar was initially removed as Principal Secretary and later as the IT Secretary amid allegations by the UDF and the BJP of attempts to shield the accused in gold smuggling case by Chief Minister's Office.

Former Principal Secretary Questioned In Kerala Gold Smuggling Case

Former Principal Secretary M Sivasankar was suspended for violation of service rules

Thiruvananthapuram:

The former Principal Secretary of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, is being questioned by the National Investigation Agency in connection to the smuggling of 30 kg gold detected last month. The gold was being smuggled through diplomatic channel from Dubai to Thiruvananthapuram, in a baggage meant for a diplomat of the United Arab Emirates.

Former Principal Secretary M Sivasankar was suspended for violation of service rules after a investigating team of senior bureaucrats found that he has referred one of the accused for a job at the firm linked to a state government project.

He was initially removed as Principal Secretary and later as the IT Secretary amid allegations by the UDF and the BJP of attempts to shield the accused in gold smuggling case by Chief Minister's Office.

Call records leaked by unidentified sources indicated that some of the key accused in the case had contacts with the senior IAS officer.

Last week, he was questioned for over nine hours by Customs officials.

Call records show several calls purportedly made by Sarith, one of the key accused, to Mr Sivasankar. He has also been linked to another key accused, Swapna Suresh, by the opposition.

The two - Sarith and Swapna - were earlier employed by the UAE consulate.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who earlier denied allegations that his office shielded any of the accused, today told the media: "There is a probe which is going on. They can go anywhere and question anyone in connection to this case... why are you all getting worried?"
Demanding the resignation of Chief Minister, Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala earlier said Mr Vijayan must be questioned in the case because of the alleged involvement of his office.

Today, BJP state president K Surendran tweeted: "The questioning of M Shivasankar, former Prl Secretary to @vijayanpinarayi  is no doubt an important step in the #KeralaGoldSmuggling case. This proves the charge of the @BJP4Keralam that CMO is involved in this gold smuggling & related anti national acts.#ResignKeralaCM ".