ED to wait until CM Raveendran is fit for interrogation

ED to wait until CM Raveendran is fit for interrogation
C M Raveendran

Kochi/Thiruvananthapuram: CM Raveendran, a key figure of the Kerala Chief Minister's Office, has been indisposed of late and he has already missed a few summons for questioning by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) over suspected links to the accused in the diplomatic gold smuggling case.

The ED team has now decided to wait until the additional private secretary of the Kerala chief minister recovers fully, but has decided to grill some of his relatives and friends.

In the meantime, the evidence collection and intelligence probe in connection with the questioning of other accused and witnesses will continue.

The ED had served notice to Raveendran to appear for questioning on November 6 and 27 and on December 10. However, Raveendran did not present himself before the agency for three times citing Covid infection and associated health problems. He had also produced a medical certificate detailing his health condition.

Raveendran is currently undergoing treatment at the Thiruvananthapruam Medical College, days after he was discharged from there. Doctors said that it was difficult to say when he would be discharged. The medical board will meet on Friday to evaluate his health condition.

His frailty is even suspected to be a ploy to evade questioning and is likely backed by the ruling party, CPM, which fears his depositions could embarrass the LDF government especially in an election season.

Why ED is not in a hurry

The ED believes that there is no urgency in recording Raveendran's statement especially when he claims to be unwell. The agency is now making efforts to submit the final report against his former colleague M Sivasankar, IAS, who was arrested earlier in connection with a money laundering case realted to the gold smuggling case.

According to the legal opinion received by ED, if Raveendran has to be arraigned as an accused in the case based on the emerging evidence then it will be enough to submit an additional report in the court. On the basis of the evidence received now, Raveendran is a witness in the case, said investigating officials.

Raveendran reportedly has spondylosis and the post-Covid complications might have aggravated his pain. The doctors said surgery would be avoided at this stage and the problem would be managed through physiotherapy and medication. His neuro complications are also being evaluated in detail.

Medical college Superintendent Dr M S Sharmad said that a special medical certificate has not been attached with the letter sent to the investigating agency for exempting Raveendran from questioning.

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