Kerala gold smuggling case: Senior IAS officer suspended | India News

NEW DELHI: Senior IAS Officer M Sivasankar, former principal secretary to Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, was suspended on Thursday, pending inquiry in the gold smuggling case.
Yesterday, Sivasankar was grilled by the Customs for nearly nine hours in the gold smuggling case in Kerala as the opposition had demanded his suspension.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan had maintained that a high- level official probe was looking into allegations against Sivasankar, removed as his principal secretary and the I-T secretary, and reiterated that his government would not protect any wrongdoer in the sensational case, also being investigated by the NIA.
The bureaucrat, who has gone on one year leave after being eased out of his positions in the government, appeared before the Customs officials on Tuesday shortly after being summoned in connection with the investigation.
The marathon questioning of Sivasankar continued on Wednesday after which he was escorted back to his home by the Customs officials.
Sivasankar was removed from his posts after allegations surfaced that he had links with Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the case related to the attempt to smuggle gold through diplomatic baggage using the name of a person in the UAE consulate.
On Tuesday, the chief minister had said a panel headed by chief secretary Dr Vishwas Mehta was probing the charges against the bureaucrat and action would be taken, if he was found guilty.
The Customs was probing whether Sivasankar had used his office to provide any help to key accused– Sarith, Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair.
It had seized the gold, weighing over 30 kg and valued at around Rs 15 crore on July 5.
The NIA, which has been entrusted withthe probe into the case by the Centre, has booked four people Sarith, Swapna Suresh, Sandeep Nair and Fasil Fareed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
As the case has national and international linkages, and as the initial inquiries have revealed that the proceeds of the smuggled gold could be used for financing terrorism in India, it has taken up the investigation, an NIA official had said earlier.

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