Gold smuggling case: NIA to quizz Sivasankar again on Monday

Thiruvananthapuram, July 24 (IANS) The NIA has directed Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s former Principal Secretary and now-suspended IAS officer M. Sivasankar to present himself for quizzing again at its Kochi office on Monday with regard to the gold smuggling case.Sivasankar was grilled for almost five hours by the NIA at the Police Club here on Thursday, but send back. He was also handed a notice to appear before the agency at its Kochi office next week.Meanwhile, the NIA officials have asked officials concerned handling CCTV operations at the state Secretariat to hand over the entire visuals recorded between July 1 and 14.The gold smuggling case surfaced when P.S. Sarith, a former employee of the UAE Consulate here, was arrested by the Customs Department on July 5 for allegedly facilitating smuggling of 30 kg gold in a diplomatic baggage from Dubai to Thiruvananthapuram.The name of Swapna Suresh, a former employee of the UAE consulate and employed with the IT Department, surfaced later on.

Her alleged links with Sivasankar were revealed subsequently.Another person arrested for his direct involvement in the smuggling cases is Sandip Nair, hailing from the city.According to the Customs, all three arrested accused have close links with Sivasankar, a charge he has denied. The suspended officer maintained that apart from being friends with them, he had no clue to the smuggling activities involving the three.Sivasankar has since undergone one round of grilling by both Customs and NIA. Vijayan continues to put up a brave face in the whole matter. Asked about the questioning of Sivasankar on Thursday, the Chief Minister reacted sharply: “I have already made it clear. Let the NIA do their job; I have already said this before also.”–IANSsg/tsb

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