The Customs Department questioned M Sivasankar, former principal secretary to Kerala Chief Minister for over nine hours at the Customs House here in connection with the case relating to the smuggling of gold via diplomatic channel into Kerala.
Sivasankar who arrived a little post 5 pm at the Customs House was seen leaving the building around 2: 30 am on Wednesday. He was questioned as part of the ongoing probe by Customs and National Investigation Agency (NIA) into the gold smuggling case.
This is the first time a senior IAS officer is being questioned for such long duration in the State. Sivasankar reached the Thiruvananthapuram Customs Office after Customs officials served him a notice at his residence summoning him for questioning.
Although Customs officials were tight-lipped about the development, it is learnt that the expelled bureaucrat was quizzed about his close connection with Sarith PS and Swapna Suresh, who have been named as the first and the second accused by Customs in the gold smuggling case and who are under the custody of investigation agencies.
Phone call records that have surfaced of Sarith PS and Swapna Suresh, arrested in case related to smuggling of around 30 kilograms of gold in air cargo meant addressed to the UAE consulate in Thiruvanthapuram, have revealed that they had multiple conversations with Sivasankar, who was in charge of Kerala CMO as its principal secretary.
Also, Swapna Suresh, was working under the IT department in which Sivasankar was the IT secretary.
The phone call records show that from April 20 to June 1, Sarith had telephoned Sivasankar several times and the former IT secretary also made calls to Sarith five times.
This development comes days after 30 kg of gold worth Rs 14.82 crore smuggled in consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage was busted by Customs in Thiruvananthapuram.
The NIA has registered an FIR under Sections 16, 17 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, against four accused persons, of which three have been arrested.
( With inputs from ANI )