Trouble looms ahead for Vijayan in gold smuggling case

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 1 (IANS) With three national agencies all set to again question M. Sivasankar, former secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, it is going to be uneasy days ahead for the latter.

The Customs, Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) are now probing the case and have arrested around two dozen people, who were directly or indirectly involved in this case.

Since July 5, when Customs busted the gold smuggling case, Sivasankar has been questioned by these three agencies for long hours. The last time was on August 15, when he was questioned for five hours by the ED.

After that, these probe agencies have been on a massive probe collecting evidence and corroborating it with the arrested. According to sources, these agencies have found that there are some missing links and very soon Sivasankar and a chartered accountant, who has been close to him and prime accused Swapna Suresh, would be asked to appear before one or more of these probe agencies.

The gold smuggling case was unearthed when P. S.Sarith, a former employee of the UAE Consulate here, was arrested by the customs department on July 5 when he was facilitating smuggling of 30 kg of gold in the diplomatic baggage to Thiruvananthapuram from Dubai.

It turned murkier when the name of Swapna Suresh, a former employee of the Consulate, and employed with the state's IT Department, surfaced and more so, when her links with Sivasankar, who held the dual posts of Principal Secretary to Vijayan and state IT Secretary, came out.

The IAS officer was subsequently removed from both the posts and then suspended by Vijayan.

What has added to the already beleaguered Vijayan is a fire in the secret section of the General Administration Department in the State Secretariat that took place last week.

With the BJP and Congress alleging that it was a ‘created' fire, a team of NIA officials will soon visit the fire spot. Also, their demand for the CCTV visuals at the seat of power is also yet not to be handed over.

Though Vijayan has been saying that the buck stops with Sivasankar and action has been taken against him. The CPI-M, which often takes a position of high moral ground on issues like corruption and cheating seems to be on a sticky wicket now. With the Congress and the BJP breathing down on Vijayan's neck, it remains to be seen what strategy would the CPI-M take, if something untoward occurs during the course of the fresh round of Sivasankar's questioning.



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