[Breaking] Kerala High Court Denies Pre-Arrest Bail To M Siva Sankar IAS In Gold Smuggling Case

first_imgNews Updates[Breaking] Kerala High Court Denies Pre-Arrest Bail To M Siva Sankar IAS In Gold Smuggling Case LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK27 Oct 2020 9:56 PMShare This – xThere are strong indications pointed out by the ED to suggest that the applicant may be a person involved in the money laundering with Swapna Suresh, the Court observed.The High Court of Kerala on Wednesday denied anticipatory bail to M Siva Sankar IAS, former Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister of Kerala, in the cases registered by the Enforcement Directorate and the Customs department in relation to the gold smuggling case.”Dismissed”, said a single bench of Justice Ashok Menon when the cases were taken up for pronouncement of orders today. Justice…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe High Court of Kerala on Wednesday denied anticipatory bail to M Siva Sankar IAS, former Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister of Kerala, in the cases registered by the Enforcement Directorate and the Customs department in relation to the gold smuggling case.”Dismissed”, said a single bench of Justice Ashok Menon when the cases were taken up for pronouncement of orders today. Justice Ashok Menon had reserved orders in the case on October 23.The court passed seperate orders in the two anticipatory bail applications filed by Siva Sankar in the cases registered by the Enforcement Directorate and the Customs department.Considering the gravity of the offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the applicant may not be entitled to the extraordinary relief of pre-arrest bail, observed the Court.The Court also noted that Siva Sankaran was in constant contact with one of the prime accused, namely Swapna Suresh, and that he had even volunteered to help her by contacting his Chartered Accountant and asking him to assist her in managing her finances”This indicates that there is a fair possibility that applicant knew about the involvement of Swapna Suersh in the alleged smuggling activity. Whether the applicant was himself actively involved in the commission of the offence is something which is to be investigated and found out.”, Justice Ashok Menon further observed.Regarding the case registered by the Enforcement Directorate, the court observed :”There is clear indication that the applicant was very close to Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in this crime. He had discussed regarding the deposit of amounts belonging to Swapna Suresh with his Chartered Accountant. He had introduced her to the Chartered Accountant and had asked him to sort out her financial problems. It is alleged to be in consequence of the directions given by the applicant that Swapna Suresh and the Chartered Accountant (Venugopal) opened a locker in the State Bank of India, Thiruvananthapuram Branch. Both of them had rights to operate the locker. Even though the applicant has disassociated himself from the activities pertaining to the deposit of the amounts in the locker, there is some indication in the communications between the applicant and the Chartered Accountant regarding the applicant overseeing the management of the finances of Swapna Suresh. The Enforcement Directorate has not yet concluded whether the applicant is to be made an accused or a witness in the crime. However, there are strong indications pointed out by the ED to suggest that the applicant may be a person involved in the money laundering with Swapna Suresh. The statements given by the Chartered Accountant and the accused Swapna Suresh strongly indicate the involvement of the applicant. Probably there may not be sufficient evidence at present collected by the ED to implicate the applicant as an accused, and there also may not be sufficient evidence to suggest that he is guilty of the offences alleged. But they have sufficient materials to interrogate him, for which he is bound to cooperate, as a Senior Government official. The applicant would state that he was connected with the affairs of the Government and had in such capacity interacted with Swapna Suresh, the Secretary to the Consulate General. If that be so, there is no need for him to interfere in matters concerning management of her finances. The fact that he had intervened in the management of the finances belonging to Swapna Suresh is a situation adverse to him.”, the court observed in the order.Senior Advocate P Vijayabhanu, appearing for the civil servant, had submitted that his client had been cooperating with the investigation and had subjected himself to over 90 hours of interrogation by the central agencies. Yet, no incriminatory material could be found against him, the senior lawyer submitted.He said that the central agencies were acting under political pressure to arrest him without any basis.Additional Solicitor General of India, S V Raju, appearing for the ED, submitted that the investigation so far has given reasons to believe that Siva Sankar was aware of the activities of Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the gold smuggling case. The ASG had contended that there were possibilities that Siva Sankar was the kingpin of the conspiracy and that Swapna was acting as his agent, and that the agency required his custodial interrogation to unearth these aspects.The case relates to the seizure of 30 kg of 24 carat gold worth ₹14.82 crore at Thiruvananthapuram airport on July 5 by the Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate, Kochi, which was sought to be brought through the diplomatic consignment sent to UAE consulate at the State capital. Sivasankar came under the cloud of suspicion on account of his connections with the prime accused in the gold smuggling case, Swapna Suresh and P R Sarith.After the reports about gold smuggling surfaced in media, the state government suspended him from service last July for alleged violations of conduct rules.Click here to download the order in Customs CaseClick here to download the order in the ED caseNext Storylast_img read more