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Kerala gold smuggling: NIA summons CM Vijayan's ex-secretary again English.Lokmat.com

Kerala gold smuggling: NIA summons CM Vijayan's ex-secretary again

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday resumed the interrogation of former Kerala IT secretary M Sivashankar at its office in Kochi as part of the investigation into gold smuggling case.
Kerala gold smuggling: NIA summons CM Vijayan's ex-secretary again

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday resumed the interrogation of former Kerala IT secretary M Sivashankar at its office in Kochi as part of the investigation into gold smuggling case.

The questioning began at 10:30 am of Sivashankar, who was questioned by the probe agency on Monday for nine hours.

This is the third time in the past one week that the senior IAS official is being questioned. On July 23, he was questioned for nearly five hours.

According to the investigation, Sivasankar shared close proximity with the key accused in the gold smuggling case, Swapna Suresh and Sarith PS. Also, the probe revealed that he also had known Sandeep Nair the fourth accused in the case.

As the probe by Customs and NIA progressed, the revelation by the accused during interrogation that Sivasankar helped them to book a flat near secretariat turned the tables against the bureaucrat, who till his ouster was the face of Kerala IT department and was a powerful officer in Kerala Chief Minister's Office.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, when asked about his former principal secretary being questioned by NIA, said during a press meet: "I have told about this earlier. Some people are interested only in this matter. NIA is probing the case properly, as part of it they can reach anywhere. Let them travel in their path. I have reacted about all this earlier and there is no need to repeat it."

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had on Friday submitted before a special NIA court that around Rs 1 crore cash and 982.5 grams gold ornaments were seized from two bank lockers of accused Swapna Suresh, a former consultant with the state's IT department.

The matter, which pertains to the smuggling of gold in the state through diplomatic channels, had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crores, smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage, was busted by customs in Thiruvananthapuram last month.

( With inputs from ANI )

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