The Kerala high court on Friday refrained the Enforcement Directorate and Customs from arresting chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s former secretary M Sivasankar till it takes a final decision on his anticipatory bail petition on October 28 in the gold smuggling case, even as the two central agencies opposed his bail plea.
The ED alleged the senior IAS officer was aware of the smuggling activities of the main accused in the case, Swapna Suresh, a former United Arab Emirates (UAE) consulate employee. There were also attempts to bail her out after the gold — hidden in a bag camouflaged as a diplomatic baggage of the UAE consulate in the state capital — was seized. He also helped the main accused in money laundering, the probe agency said.
The Customs argued that a person served notice under section 108 of the Customs Act — which gives the agency power to summon a person to give evidence and produce documents — cannot move an application for anticipatory bail. It also alleged that Sivasankar pretended to be ill last week and got himself admitted to two hospitals to avoid being grilled by the probe team. This is the first time that both the agencies pointed to Sivasankar’s direct role in the alleged smuggling case.