Kerala gold smuggling: SC declines stay on Sivasankar’s HC bail

New Delhi, March 5 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday sought response from M. Sivasankar, suspended principal secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, on an appeal filed by the Enforcement Directorate challenging a High Court order granting the IAS officer bail in the gold smuggling case.On January 25, the Kerala High Court had granted bail to Sivasankar, who was arrested by ED on October 28, in a money laundering case in connection with the gold-smuggling racket. Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, representing the ED, contended before a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan that the money used was his when he was principal secretary. The bench queried that gold was smuggled, but was he involved? Raju replied that he talked to the officials to get the gold released and urged the top court to stay the High Court order. Senior advocate Jaideep Gupta, representing Sivasankar, argued before the court that it was a false case against his client. “They have found nothing against him and they were still going after him. This is a strange situation,” submitted Gupta. The bench replied to Gupta that his client is already out on bail. Gupta acknowledged that. The bench said it is not putting his client behind the bars, instead it is issuing a notice in the matter. Gupta said he will file a counter. The bench allowed Gupta to file a counter affidavit in the matter and listed the matter for further hearing after 6 weeks. Raju insisted that the High Court judgement should be stayed. The bench replied, “He is already out on bail. We will not stay it.” However, the bench said it will issue notice in the matter. In December last year, the ED had filed a supplementary charge sheet in a court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases, alleging that Sivasankar knowingly assisted other key accused in the gold-smuggling through diplomatic channel in Kerala. The ED had claimed that he indulged in criminal activities and committed scheduled offences. –IANSss/in

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